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.