Iran urges peaceful end to Turkish row with Kurds

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TEHRAN, Nov 5 (Reuters) Iran's Foreign Ministry said today it wanted a peaceful end to Turkey's stand-off with rebelKurds in northern Iraq, some of the clearest comments yet from Tehran that it does not want to see a Turkish military incursion.

Turkey has massed troops and equipment on the border with northern Iraq, from where Kurdish rebels are mounting attacks into Turkey. Iran has also clashed several times this year with Kurdish rebels on its border with Iraq.

Washington has urged Turkey to refrain from sending introops, saying it could destabilise northern Iraq and cause a bigger regional crisis. President George W. Bush meets Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Washington today.

Iraq previously said Iran had expressed its desire for apeaceful solution when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejadspoke with his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani. Baghdad said they agreed military action was not the ''sole option''.

''We do emphasise the fact that a peaceful and diplomatic solution should be pursued in this regard,'' Foreign Ministryspokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference on Sunday, carried and translated Iran's English-language Press TV.

''We do believe that security talks between the (neighbouring) countries can also have a positive effect in finding a solution to this problem,'' he said, commenting on ameeting of Iraq's neighbours in Istanbul on Saturday.

Hosseini said the United States also appeared to beproviding backing to Kurdish rebels, citing reports of US weaponry found at their bases and meetings between US officials and leaders from the groups. He did not give details.

''It is the Americans who should not provide a chance for the terrorist groups to launch attacks against neighbouring countries,'' Hosseini said.

The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist movement that is fighting Turkey, has an Iranian offshoot called the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).

An Iranian Revolutionary Guardsman was buried in Iran on Saturday after he was killed in fighting this week with Kurdish rebels, one of the latest clashes reported in Iran's northwest.

Reuters PDGAC1525

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