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Iraqi defence minister says Iran mainly to blame for Iraq unrest: report

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AFP: Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan took a fresh swipe at Iran, accusing it of being mainly responsible for the deteriorating situation in Iraq, in statements published here Wednesday.
“We have a strong belief that Iran is the main accused in the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, such as illegal entry, smuggling of arms and means of sabotage,” he told Emirati newspaper Al-Bayan.
AFP

DUBAI – Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan took a fresh swipe at Iran, accusing it of being mainly responsible for the deteriorating situation in Iraq, in statements published here Wednesday.

“We have a strong belief that Iran is the main accused in the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, such as illegal entry, smuggling of arms and means of sabotage,” he told Emirati newspaper Al-Bayan.

“The proof which we have bears witness to Iran’s responsibility in many operations that have shaken Iraq’s stability,” said the minister, who has previously pointed the finger at Iran and Syria in acts of violence in Iraq.

“Despite this, I say to Iranians and the regime of Tehran that it is in the interests of Iran to have balanced, healthy and positive relations,” he added.

Shaalan earlier branded Tehran as Baghdad’s “most dangerous enemy” and a source of terrorism.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was, meanwhile, quoted as calling on Syria to hand over to Baghdad Iraqis implicated in the violence in Iraq.

“What we want is to be handed those wanted elements accused of planning and executing” such acts, Allawi told the United Arab Emirates’ Al-Khaleej newspaper.

On December 16, Allawi accused Damascus of harbouring fugitive Saddam Hussein aides suspected of orchestrating rebel attacks.

“Sebawi al-Tikriti, former head of the general security service, is in Syria with other former security officials,” Allawi told Al-Arabiya television.

Both Syria and its key regional ally Iran have repeatedly rejected US-led accusations that they are meddling in Iraq.

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