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Iran Has Soldiers In Iraq, Claims U.S. Ambassador

Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Iraq (file photo) (AFP) August 8, 2006 -- U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad accused Iran today of having forces in Iraq and said Tehran could use the Israeli-Hizballah fighting to try to destabilize Iraq.

Khalilzaid told reporters the region is interconnected and that "what happens in Lebanon affects things here."

The United States has repeatedly accused Iran of fomenting violence and instability by sending weapons and fighters into Iraq, a charge Tehran denies.

Khalilzad was speaking at a ceremony marking the U.S. military handover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces in the northern city of Tikrit.

He said efforts are under way to end the sectarian violence in Iraq, including meetings between rival militias. He said there is an effort to reach what he called a "moral compact" between religious forces to stop the violence.


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.