US Ambassador to Iraq: Iran arming Iraqi militias

February 20, 2006 13:49


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Iran is providing training and weapons to militias and extremist groups in Iraq, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Monday. Khalilzad said Washington was not trying to impose its differences with Iran on Iraq, "but we don't want Iranian interference in Iraq, providing arms and training the militias and forces that are hostile to this new Iraq." He said that while Iraq and Iran maintained good government-to-government relationship, "Iran has another policy as well, which is to work with the militias and extremist groups and provide training and weapons, direct or indirect." Asked whether he thought Iran, a predominantly Shiite Muslim nation with close links to Iraqi Shiite politicians, he said: "I think there is evidence of at least indirect help." "Iran is a very complicated player, an influential player seeking regional pre-emininece," said Khalilzad. "Iraq is very important to it and it is using a variety of means that, to you and I, would look very contradictory but to them it looks as part of a comprehensive strategy."

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