CAIRO, AUG. 16 -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in a harsh personal attack today, accused President Bush of being a "liar" intent on "plundering" the Arab world's oil wealth, and he warned that any American troops who clash with those of Iraq "will go home in shrouded coffins."

In an "open letter" broadcast by Baghdad radio, Saddam expressed a hope for peace, but he flatly rejected demands that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait, which its troops seized two weeks ago. "We are on our own land. Kuwaitis and Iraqis are both Iraqis from the beginning," he said. "There is no going back."

Saddam's 15-minute tirade came a day after Bush, in a similarly personal attack, called the Iraqi a "liar" and a "killer." It was broadcast shortly after Iraq ordered 4,000 Britons and 2,500 Americans in Kuwait to assemble in two hotels there in a move British authorities called "grave and sinister" and a possible indication that a mass internment of foreigners is planned.

In Tehran today, Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called for a resolution of the crisis without outside interference. Speaking a day after Saddam proposed a peace agreement between Iran and Iraq that would meet virtually all of Iran's conditions, Rafsanjani reiterated his country's demand that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait and said the two issues are separate.

Saddam, in his broadcast statement, warned Bush of a jihad, or holy war, if U.S. forces move against his, and said: "We pray to God that the two sides will not clash, because if they do, thousands of Americans whom you have pushed into this dark tunnel will go home in shrouded coffins."

Iraq's Air Defense Force said in a separate communique that foreign pilots should not expect mercy if their planes are shot down over Iraq.

Saddam accused Bush of attempting to control Persian Gulf oil deposits through conservative Arab rulers, and said, "You, the president of the United States, have chosen to be a liar, like the band you have selected and consider to represent the Arab nation.

"The man you hate most is Saddam Hussein because his truthfulness to his principles, to himself and to his people and nation makes him their servant and leader, not a servant of foreigners," he added.

"The Arabs, president of the United States of America, are not those rulers who serve you and capitulate to your orders and take part with you in plundering the {Arab} nation's wealth," Saddam declared. "Arabs are the people, the poor stricken sons of the nation."

Saddam also attacked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for saying that shortly before the Aug. 2 invasion, Saddam had given him assurances he would not attack Kuwait. Saddam said he had witnesses "who are still alive" to vouch that he told Mubarak he would not use force before the end of negotiations with Kuwaiti leaders in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Iraq invaded Kuwait about 12 hours after negotiations ended.

Iraq said Saddam's acceptance of Iran's peace terms for ending their eight-year war will free more than 30 army divisions to confront the U.S.-led forces defending Saudi Arabia against attack.

Al-Thawra, newspaper of Iraq's ruling Baath Party, said the peace offer would "give Iraq added strength and more resources for victory."

The official Iraqi News Agency denied a report by the Egyptian government news agency, MENA, that said tanks were in the streets of Baghdad after an alleged assassination attempt on Saddam that was said to have followed his peace offer to Iran. Iraqi radio broadcast a message from Defense Minister Abdul-Jabbar Shanshal proclaiming loyalty to Saddam and endorsing his peace proposal.

Rafsanjani, responding to speculation that as a result of peace, Iran might help Iraq circumvent an international trade blockade, said that the two issues are separate and that real peace could not come to the region as long as Iraq occupies Kuwait and U.S. forces pour into Saudi Arabia.

The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, said Rafsanjani told Turkish President Turgut Ozal by telephone, "The issue of peace with Iraq is a separate one, and, as before, we believe that Iraq must withdraw from Kuwaiti territory so as to create the necessary conditions for reestablishment of peace and tranquility."

Iran's U.N. ambassador said Iran will respect the U.N. embargo against Iraq, but officials in Tehran have not confirmed this.

The Iraqi News Agency said Iraq's troop withdrawal from Iranian territory will begin Friday and take five days. It also quoted a presidential spokesman as saying that on Friday Iraq will begin repatriating 1,000 Iranian prisoners of war a day. Iraq holds at least 50,000 Iranian prisoners, according to Red Cross records.

In northern areas of Iran, along its border with Iraq, particularly in Kurdish regions, border control has proved very difficult for both goverments because of the activities of Kurdish dissidents on both sides. Even during the war, smuggled Iraqi products such as soap, chewing gum and shaving cream could be found in Iranian markets. A reverse flow of goods, especially if it proves profitable, would be hard for smugglers to resist, regardless of the Iranian government's public support for the U.N. embargo.

A source close to senior members of Iran's parliament, in a telephone interview with Reuter in Dubai, said Iran "will not defy U.N. sanctions, especially for Iraq's sake. It would be economic suicide."

Meanwhile, Lloyd's Shipping Intelligence said today that traffic is thinning at the Jordanian port of Aqaba, Iraq's main cargo access to the world, but it said Jordanian port authorities have forced a Cypriot freighter to unload 1,000 tons of its cargo of sugar for Iraq.

S.K. Mehrotra, managing director of Amer Shipping Management, told Reuter in Cyprus that the ship had been advised not to proceed to Aqaba when the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions against Iraq. But the vessel was already in Jordanian waters and Aqaba port authorities forcibly took it into port and ordered 1,000 tons of the 15,400-ton cargo unloaded, Mehrotra said.

Special correspondent Sharif Imam-Jomeh in Tehran contributed to this article.