Gulf News Online Edition  
 Dubai:Monday, April 14, 2003  

Iran continues to raise secret deal claim
Tehran |By Mohsen Asgary | 14-04-2003
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An Iranian news agency close to top conservative military figures attributed the fall of Baghdad to a secret tripartite agreement between Saddam Hussain, Russia and the U.S.

According to the Baztab agency, 13 days after the start of the war, Saddam and Russian intelligence allegedly pledged to hand over Baghdad with minimal resistance to allied forces provided they spared the lives of Saddam and a hundred of his close relatives.

The U.S., for its part, promised to safely send Saddam and his entourage to a third country.

Baztab added that Mohammed Saeed Al Sahaf, Iraqi Information Minister, was instructed to stay in Baghdad until the very last moments to lend the impression that everything in Saddam's camp was under control.

The agency also claimed that Russia gained $5 billion to orchestrate this agreement.

Iran's state TV, which is under the supervision of the supreme leader, also attributed the fall of Baghdad to a secret deal between coalition forces and the deposed Iraqi president. It aired the fall of Baghdad without showing scenes of Iraqis dancing in the streets.

Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, said there are serious questions surrounding Saddam's demise.

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