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Rumsfeld Tells Congress Iran Is Feeding Iraq Sectarianism

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (file photo) (CTK) WASHINGTON, May 17 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today again accused Iran of involvement in the sectarian violence in Iraq.

Testifying in Washington before Congress, Rumsfeld said U.S. forces are finding Iranian-manufactured weapons in Iraq. But Rumsfeld conceded that he can't prove this conclusively.

"The problem we've got is unless you catch somebody from Iran, from the government of Iran, physically bringing a weapon into Iraq, and you can tie a string between the two, you can't assert that it necessarily was government sponsored," he said.

Rumsfeld added that the government of Iran would benefit if the United States withdrew its forces from Iraq before the Baghdad government could effectively protect the country.

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.