Iranian newspapers Thursday singled out Saddam Hussein as the source of all evil in the Persian Gulf and said his brutal suppression of his own people proved he was a war criminal, the Iranian news agency reported.

Kayhan International, referring to the mass exodus of Kurdish refugees to Iran and Turkey, said "as long as Saddam Hussein and the Baath Party remain in power in Baghdad, the Iraqi nation will be weakened and humiliated."The paper said Saddam always blamed Iraq's neighbors for rebellion at home but that the mass flight from Iraq of the Kurdish population proves the opposite.

Iraq has blamed Iran for stirring unrest and accused Tehran of sending troops disguised as Iraqi guerrillas to fight on the side of the rebels during the parallel Kurdish and Shiite rebellions in Iraq following the end of the gulf war.

"The Iraqi people have no option but to continue their liberation struggle against the despotic regime in Baghdad until they achieve ultimate victory," Kayhan said.