Bloomberg: Diplomatic talks with Iran are failing to stem the insurgency in neighboring Iraq, the U.S. State Department said, as the military revealed Iranian-linked bomb attacks on troops are increasing. By Ed Johnson
Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) — Diplomatic talks with Iran are failing to stem the insurgency in neighboring Iraq, the U.S. State Department said, as the military revealed Iranian-linked bomb attacks on troops are increasing.
Two rounds of talks between Ambassador Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad, and lower level security discussions, haven’t “yielded positive results,” spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington yesterday.
Roadside attacks against U.S. soldiers using armor-piercing bombs have increased, McCormack said, citing Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq.
The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of training and financing insurgents in Iraq and stoking violence between the country’s Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities. Iran denies the charges and yesterday held the latest round of security talks with Iraq, when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki visited Tehran.
McCormack’s comments came as the U.S. military raided a terrorist cell yesterday in Baghdad suspected of transporting weapons from Iran. U.S. forces killed 30 suspected militiamen and detained 12 others in the raid in eastern Baghdad’s mainly Shiite Muslim area of Sadr City.
Roadside bombs supplied by Iran caused 23 of 69 combat deaths suffered by U.S.-led forces in Iraq last month, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing Odierno.
The devices, known as “explosively formed penetrators,” fire copper slugs that can pierce armored vehicles and were used in a record 99 attacks in July, the newspaper said.
Iran shares a 1,458-kilometer (906-mile) border with Iraq to the west and both have Shiite Muslim majorities. The two states fought an eight-year war in the 1980s and have increased political and economic ties since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s Sunni Muslim-led regime.
Maliki met yesterday with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vice President Parviz Davudi to discuss security in Iraq, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
“Iran and Iraq have a heavy responsibility for establishing peace and security in the region,” IRNA cited Ahmadinejad as saying. Maliki said he wants to expand ties with Iran and appealed to the country’s industries to invest in infrastructure projects in Iraq, IRNA reported.
Syria, accused by the U.S. of allowing insurgents to cross the border into Iraq, also hosted security talks yesterday.
Representatives from the U.S. military in Iraq and U.S. Embassy in Damascus were “observers” at the meeting that was attended by Iraq’s neighbors, said McCormack.