Iran criticizes U.S. attacks, backs Afghan coalition government
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's foreign minister sharply criticized the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan on Saturday but said his nation backed a "broad-based, representative government" in its troubled neighbor.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi's comments followed a meeting in Tehran with his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou. Papandreou's visit to Tehran culminated his three-day tour of Central Asia, where he was the latest in a string of European diplomats trying to bolster regional support for the U.S-led coalition against terrorism.
Reiterating comments made by Iranian officials in recent weeks, Kharrazi said, "We do not think that the military operation is a right solution."
Iran has opposed Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, supporting its opposition -- the Northern Alliance -- militarily and economically. But it has also been a longtime enemy of the United States, which is aiding opposition forces in Afghanistan.
While backing efforts championed by the United States and its allies for an inclusive government to replace the Taliban, Kharazzi said he did not support the return of deposed Afghan King Mohammad Zahir Shah, living in exile in Rome, Italy.
Kharazzi pressed for an immediate resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, which he called the "root of extremism."
The Iranian foreign minister told Papandreou that he intended to outline his country's positions in detail when he meets with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell next week.
During Papandreou's visit, two Greek humanitarian agencies signed an agreement with the Iranian Red Crescent Society to bolster aid for Afghan refugees.
Greece, which traditionally has had a friendly relationship with Iran, already pledged $1 million. Half of that money will go to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, while most of the remainder will be sent to Iranian agencies.
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