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N. KOREAN OFFICIAL DENIES SHIP CARRIED SCUDS

North Korea's vice president Thursday denied that a ship from his country that apparently eluded a U.S. Navy dragnet this week and docked in an Iranian port was carrying Scud missiles.

One Iranian newspaper editorialized Thursday that U.S. threats to stop and search the ship Dae Hung Ho were part of a psychological warfare campaign against the Islamic republic.Another opined that the United States had decided not to intercept the North Korean freighter because it wanted to avoid a potential military confrontation.

Neither paper addressed the U.S. allegation that Scuds were aboard the ship when it arrived at the port of Bandar Abbas on Tuesday.

Vice President Li Jong Ok, the North Korean vice president, said in Cairo that U.S. allegations about the ship's mission were unfounded.

"There is absolutely no truth in these reports," Li said in Korean through an Arabic interpreter in response to reporters' questions.

He made the comment after meeting with President Hosni Mubarak.