CAIRO, Egypt -- President Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran has renewed his country's criticism of the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, terming it dangerous and arrogant.
At the same time, he condemned Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, saying it prevented the mobilizing of opposition to the immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.
Mr. Rafsanjani, whose comments were reported by Tehran Radio yesterday, spoke at a banquet Saturday night for President Hafez Assad of Syria, who went to Tehran, Western diplomats said, to press Iran to observe the international embargo imposed on Iraq after the Aug. 2 invasion.
Mr. Assad, who has promised to send 15,000 soldiers and 300 tanks to Saudi Arabia to join the U.S.-led force in the gulf, took a more muted line toward the presence of foreign troops in Saudi Arabia, one of the most sensitive issues in a region once dominated by outsiders.
In comments reported by Tehran Radio, he suggested that the issue of the foreign military presence was secondary to Iraq's takeover of Kuwait. But he said, "We will not accept the presence of foreign troops in this region after the Kuwaiti problem is resolved."
By contrast, his Iranian counterpart said the buildup of U.S. and other Western forces in Saudi Arabia and the gulf was "an arrogant scheme" intended to promote a new security order in the region.