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Iran 'discreetly aided Libyan rebels'

Aug. 28, 2011 6:14 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2011 6:14 P.M.)
TEHRAN (AFP) -- Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.

"We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Gadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi," Salehi told the daily.

"The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping," he added.

Since the Libyan uprising erupted in mid-February, Iran has adopted a dual approach -- criticizing the Gadhafi regime for its violent assaults on the rebels while at the same time condemning NATO's military intervention.

On Tuesday, Iran "congratulated the Muslim people of Libya" after rebels overran the capital Tripoli, but it has so far distanced itself from officially recognizing the NTC.

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