Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati appealed Thursday for more Western aid for Iraqi refugees in Iran and said he would not object to U.S. planes ferrying in goods.
"We need more aid. It costs $300 million per month" to care for the more than 1 million Iraqis who have flooded into Iran after a failed rebellion, Velayati said."We need to press (the West) to provide more" he added during a news conference at Tehran's Meharabad Airport before leaving for Saudi Arabia.
"This is not relief to the Iranian people but to Kurds, and we will not prevent them from getting it from other countries," he added.
Some Iranian radicals opposed to improved ties with the West have fiercely criticized Western aid, and Velayati's comments were another indication of gains by moderates in the government.
He said help with medicine, food and mobile hospitals was essential and that Iran would pose "no obstacle" to any help for the Kurds, including that provided by Western European military units in Iran.
Forty Belgian paratroopers and about 200 German airmen are reported to have been flown to separate locations along the border with Iraq to set up camps for refugees. They are the first Western military units to set foot in Iran since 1979, when the Islamic revolution ousted the pro-Western government of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
"There is also no obstacle for American (relief) transportation by air," Velayati said. U.S. officials earlier said they would respond positively to Iranian appeals for help.