Monday, February 05, 2007

Perspective: Iran's role in Iraq met with skepticism

Tehran, capital of Iran

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials from commanders in Iraq to President Bush have stepped up claims that Iran has been supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons and training to kill U.S. troops.

"Iranian lethal support for select groups of Shia militants clearly intensifies the conflict in Iraq," said a U.S. intelligence assessment of Iraq released Friday.

Such claims, however, are being met with denials from Iran and skepticism at home. Faulty U.S. intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which Bush used to justify in part the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has eroded much of the administration's credibility, military expert Anthony Cordesman said.

"I'm not sure they understand how little credibility these statements have," said Cordesman, of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The great risk is that what may be a real issue will not be seen as real outside the United States."

"There is no truth whatsoever in the allegations that Iran has been supplying weapons to the Iraqi insurgents," said Mohammad Mir Ali Mohammadi, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations.

Instead, Mohammadi said, the United States is producing allegations on "a large scale (to) justify a discredited and indeed dangerously flawed policy" in Iraq.

Read the rest at USA Today