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Iran: Tehran accused of stoking cartoon clash

Iran: Tehran accused of stoking cartoon clashThe United Press International — Iran’s leading opposition grouping in exile Friday accused the hardline clerical regime of inflaming Muslim anger towards the west over cartoons of Mohammed.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice directed a similar claim against the Iranian and Syrian governments Wednesday.

In a statement on its website, The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran condemned the caricatures of the Prophet –which were originally published in a Danish daily — for insulting Muslims’ religious beliefs and playing into the hands of the mullahs in Tehran.

But the grouping, which is the political wing of the outlawed People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, said the Islamist regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was using the outcry over the cartoons to divert attention from its nuclear program and whip up hostility towards western countries that have published the drawings.

The resistance movement, which describes itself as Iran’s parliament-in-exile, says the recent outbreak of violence against European embassies and military bases in Iran and elsewhere has been instigated by the regime’s foreign and intelligence ministries, the Islamic Culture and Communications Organization, the Global Association of Ahl al-Beit (Family of the Prophet), the Global Association of Affinity of Islamic Denominations, and the Islamic Propaganda Organization.

The group alleges that Mullah Aboulghassem Khazali, and his son, Mohsen Khazali, directors of the Global Association of Ahl al-Beit, traveled to Germany from Tehran Feb. 9 to follow the issue in Europe. It also claims a senior member of the same association has been engaged in extensive communications with fundamentalist cells in Europe and North America on the topic.