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U.S. Rejects View That Iraq Supports International Terrorism

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The Reagan Administration reiterated today that it does not believe that Iraq should be considered a country that supports international terrorism, even though it harbors one of the most virulent of the Palestinian terrorist groups, The Black June movement headed by Abu Nidal.

The Administration removed Iraq in February, 1982, from the U.S. government list of countries which provide support for international terrorists. This means that under the Export Administration Act, Congress will no longer have to be notified of any military-related sales to Iraq.

However, ever since the Administration’s action, there have been efforts in Congress to restore Iraq to the list of countries that support international terrorists. But State Department deputy spokesman Alan Romberg said today that the Administration does not consider there is any “justification to redesignate” Iraq on this list. He added that “appropriate” members of Congress and Congressional staff have been advised of the Administration’s view.

“The government of Iraq has publicly denounced international terrorism since at least September, 1982,” Romberg said. “Based on the evidence available to us, we have no reason to believe that the government of Iraq has supported acts of international terrorism since about that time.”

BLACK JUNE MOVEMENT RESIDES IN IRAQ

However, Abu Nidal has continued to live openly in Baghdad even though he has claimed responsibility for terrorist incidents in Israel and against Jewish sites in Europe, including the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov in 1982, then Israel’s Ambassador to London.

Romberg conceded that “members of at least one international terrorist group reportedly are still in Iraq, apparently under certain constraints. We will continue to register our strong view that there can be no advantage to Iraq, or to other countries that face a terrorist threat, in permitting terrorists to transit or reside in Iraq. However, we see no prospect that such punitive measures as withholding certain U.S. exports to Iraq will further the objectives of our vigorous and promising diplomatic efforts on this issue.”

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