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U.S. Defense Secretary Sees Tehran's Hand In Iraq Violence

Iraqis at the scene of an attack in Al-Sadr city in east Baghdad on March 13 (epa) March 14, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he has no proof that the government of Iran is involved in the violence in neighboring Iraq, but contends evidence suggests --> that is the case.

President George W. Bush yesterday linked Iran to explosives used by insurgents in Iraq. And last week, Rumsfeld said Iran's Revolutionary Guard was operating there.

Asked about this today, Rumsfeld said it has so far been impossible to conclusively connect these activities to the Iranian government.

Rumsfeld said he believes some members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard or its religious police, know as the Quds Force, have infiltrated Iraq, posing as religious pilgrims. He dismissed the idea that they were acting without orders from Tehran.

"It's entirely possible they're rogue elements and they're just there on their own, or they're pilgrims. Not likely. And in this case there has been evidence that Quds Force [or] Revolutionary Guard people have been and/or are in Iraq. And I think that, as a reasonable man, tests would suggest that they're not freelancing and they're not pilgrims."

As for weapons, Rumsfeld acknowledged that the only way to conclusively establish a link to the Iranian government is to see them brought across the border in a government-sponsored vehicle.

Iraq And Iran

Iraq And Iran

Iranian Shi'a protesting the Golden Mosque Bombing in Iraq on February 24

WHAT IS GOING ON? On March 8, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion on relations between Iraq and Iran. Although most analysts agree that Iran has been actively involved in Iraq since the U.S.-led military operation to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, they continue to debate the nature, extent, and intent of that involvement.
The RFE/RL briefing featured WAYNE WHITE, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research's Office of Analysis for the Near East and South Asia, and A. WILLIAM SAMII, RFE/RL's regional analyst for Iran and editor of the "RFE/RL Iran Report."


Listen to the complete RFE/RL briefing (about 75 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media


Iran/Iraq: Bilateral Ties Improving Despite U.S. Worries

Renewed Speculation About Tehran And Instability In Iraq

Iran/Iraq: Neighbors Mending Ties, But Outstanding Issues Remain


RFE/RL's coverage of Iran. RFE/RL's coverage of Iraq.