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Iran denies reported plan to retaliate if U.S. strikes Syria

From Tara Kangarlou, CNN
September 9, 2013 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Iran will take no action against its ally and brother -- Iraq," says Iran's foreign minister
  • He calls for a "peaceful and diplomatic" resolution to the Syrian crisis
  • U.S. official: Intelligence pointed to planning for possible retaliation if strike is ordered

Washington (CNN) -- Iran's foreign minister denied reports Sunday that his country could be planning a retaliatory strike against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad if the United States launches a military strike against Syria.

"Iran will take no action against its ally and brother -- Iraq -- and I believe all these allegations are there to justify any military strikes, which are a danger for those planning them," said Mohammad-Javad Zarif, according to the Iranian state-run news agency INSA.

"Iran has no plans to act against its friend and brother, Iraq," the minister added.

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Last week, a senior U.S. official told CNN the United States has obtained intelligence indicating that Iran "may be planning" such a retaliatory strike.

He said that Iran has "a lot of Shi'a friends" in Iraq that would be willing to carry out an attack.

The official was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that the United States intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the embassy "and other American interests in Baghdad," if the United States strikes Syria militarily for alleged chemical weapons use.

The State Department had no comment on the report but added it had not taken any action in terms of security at U.S. diplomatic posts in Iraq.

Zarif, who spoke during a one-day visit to Iraq, called for a "peaceful and diplomatic" resolution to the crisis in Syria.

"We should not beat on the drums of war in the region, since beating will only start a fire that would spread to all countries in the region. Those who insist on beginning a war are about to start a fire that will take over the entire region," the minister said, INSA reported.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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