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Iran says U.S. pastor's Koran burning may spark new violence

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A U.S pastor's plan to burn copies of Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks may become a pretext for violence, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said on Thursday.

A U.S pastor's plan to burn copies of Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks may become a pretext for violence, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said on Thursday.

Terry Johns, pastor of a 50-member congregation in Florida, has called for an "International Burn the Koran Day" on the upcoming ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The bid has drawn widespread international outrage.

"The failure of the policy built in the time of George Bush's presidency and based on sparking religious conflicts has become self-evident," IRNA news agency quoted Motaki as saying. "Such actions will in the end bring a response not just from Muslims around the world but also from true followers of other divine religions."

Commenting on the priest's plans, Mottaki called on U.S. officials to protect the rights of U.S. Muslims and try to stop the spread of such "heinous" acts.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki also called on the U.S. government to prevent the burning. "Extremists may use this act as an excuse for new crimes," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, U. S. President Barack Obama himself implored the pastor to call off the Koran-burning campaign, saying that the move is a "recruitment bonanza" for al-Qaeda.

"And as a very practical matter, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women who are in uniform," Obama said.

However, even the hundred or so threatening letters Johns has already received have not compelled him to call off his plan.

 

MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti)

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