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US angry over Rajapakse's Iran visit plan

world Updated: Nov 06, 2007 12:13 IST

PTI
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The proposed visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to Iran this month, the dates of which have been kept confidential so far, has drawn the ire of the US which recently imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The US has "made representations" to the government of Sri Lanka to reconsider the visit of the President (Rajapakse) to Iran later this month, the Colombo Post reported on Tuesday.

According to reports, Rajapakse is likely to undertake his visit either from November 9 to 11 or November 19 to 21 and all ground work has been finalised in this regard.

The Iranian Ambassador in Sri Lanka is already in Tehran for this purpose.

"The truth is that Sri Lanka too is facing many a problem with the international community relating to human rights issues," the Nation newspaper said, adding in the circumstances, the President's visit to Iran is likely to cause more heartburn for Sri Lanka rather than bring benefits.

"It appears that the President has either been ill-advised by Foreign Ministry officials or is adamant to visit Iran to show solidarity with the Muslim world," the newspaper said.

Iran, which is facing mounting criticism from the United States and its European allies over its nuclear programme, has found support from Sri Lanka which says Tehran had a right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.