Iran expects swift return of order to Ivory Coast
Iran hopes order will be restored in Ivory Coast "as soon as possible" following the fall of strongman Laurent Gbagbo, foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday.
"We hope that stability and security returns to Ivory Coast as soon as possible," Mehmanparast said during his weekly press conference broadcast on state television.
Tehran, which has recognised the November election of Gbagbo's rival Alassane Ouattara, stopped short of criticising the intervention of the United Nations and French forces who put an end to the months-old civil war there.
"The intervention of foreign countries must depend on an international decision," Mehmanparast said, adding that Iran only expresses "reservation about any action that is against the collective decision of all countries."
Iran has strongly condemned the international intervention in Libya seeking to assist opponents of strongman Moamer Kadhafi, as well as the deployment of Saudi-led Gulf troops in Bahrain to restore order in the Arab emirate.
Mehmanparast further said that French forces deployed in Ivory Coast had taken to safety the staff of the Iranian embassy in Abidjan last week, at the request of Tehran.
He considered the request, put forward during a Thursday telephone call from Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to his French counterpart Alain Juppe, as "normal" since France had deployed troops in the African country.
"It was natural that we expect (the French) to ensure the security of our nationals and diplomats there," he argued.
The French assistance allowed Iranian diplomats to leave Ivory Coast safely, he added.
French troops have evacuated hundreds of foreign nationals and staff of several embassies in Abidjan, whose safety was threatened by fighting.
Hundreds of people have been killed in Ivory Coast since unrest was sparked there by Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat in the presidential election.
© 2011 AFP