Thursday, April 24, 2008

Iran kicked out of international defense show

Thursday 24th April

Iran has been kicked out of an international defense show in Malaysia for exhibiting missile equipment in violation of U.N. rules, an official said Thursday.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said Iranian companies were ordered out of the Defense Services Asia show Tuesday because their exhibition was deemed “offensive.” “Unfortunately, when we came around to inspecting their stand, they displayed equipment that clearly contravened the U.N. resolution—equipment such as missiles and missile systems and others,” Najib told reporters.

“The moment they crossed the line, we had no option but to terminate them,” Najib added. Najib said the exhibit was in defiance of U.N. resolutions that ban Iranian arms exports and forbid countries from providing Iran with technical and financial assistance that could contribute to its alleged nuclear weapons program. Iran is under three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and meet other council demands designed to ease fears that its civilian nuclear program is a cover for attempts to make atomic arms. Tehran has denied ever trying to make nuclear weapons. The Malaysian defense show, billed as one of the largest of its kind in Asia, began Monday with hundreds of exhibitors from about 50 countries. An Iranian embassy official in Kuala Lumpur, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, insisted the country’s participation was “not against Malaysian or international laws.” He declined to elaborate. Najib said other countries participating in the show had complained about Iran’s exhibition, but stressed Malaysia’s decision was not due to Western pressure. He did not name the countries. The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur declined to comment, saying it “doesn’t discuss details of diplomatic exchanges.” Malaysian authorities had informed the Iranian ambassador earlier this week about the exhibition’s rules, Najib said. “We were left in a situation where we did not have any option, since Malaysia is committed to respecting and adhering to the U.N. resolution,” Najib said.___Associated Press writer Sean Yoong contributed to this report.
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