Envoy denies Iran is fueling violence in Iraq

Iran's envoy at a conference on Iraq security in the Syrian capital denied on Thursday accusations by the United States that Teheran is fueling Iraq's violence and is behind many of the attacks on American troops there. "There is no evidence on this subject," said Mohammad Firouznia, head of the Iranian delegation at the gathering in Damascus. "We have held talks with the Americans in Baghdad aimed at helping the Iraqi government and people ... We are serious about this issue." Firouznia comments followed a recent announcement by Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the US second-in-command in Iraq, in which he said that Iranian-armed Shi'ite militiamen were behind 73 percent of the attacks that killed and wounded US troops in Baghdad in July, nearly double the figure six months earlier. "This isn't an official report. It's not the first time that such accusations are made," Firouznia told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting of a newly set up security committee on Iraq.