Jaafari: Iraq shouldn't be 'launching pad'

Iraq refuses to be a launching pad for threats against any of its neighbors and at the same time countries surrounding Iraq should not threaten the security of this Arab state, former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said Wednesday amid rising tension between the United States and Iran. Jaafari told reporters in this holy city after meeting the country's top Sh'iite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that followers of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will end their six-week-old political boycott "very soon." The United States is building up its troops in the region in what appears to be a message to Iran and last week captured six Iranians working at a liaison office in the northern city of Irbil. One of the six was released and the five were said to be connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq. Asked if the buildup in US troops is a threat to Iran, Jaafari said "we don't want Iraq to pose a threat to any country. We also don't accept that any neighboring country poses a threat to Iraq." He did not elaborate.