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Iran says NATO should now quit Libya

TEHRAN, Oct 21 – Iran on Friday hailed the killing of ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the capture of his hometown Sirte and said it hoped his death would spell a swift end to NATO’s military intervention.

“The inevitable fate of all dictators and oppressors who do not respect the rights of their people is destruction,” the official IRNA news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes this great victory and congratulates the Muslim Libyan people and the National Transitional Council,” Mehmanparast said.

Following Gaddafi’s death, “there is no longer any pretext for foreign military intervention in Libya and it is vital that foreign forces withdraw immediately to allow the Libyan people to determine its own future,” he added.

Iran backed the eight-month uprising that culminated in Gaddafi’s death. Although it did not extend formal recognition to the National Transitional Council set up by the rebels, it sent humanitarian aid and voiced consistent support for their campaign to end his 42-year rule.

But it also repeatedly spoke out against the UN-mandated NATO-led air war that helped propel the rebels to victory, amid troubled relations with the West over its controversial nuclear programme and concerns over the US military presence in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq.

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