News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqMilitary cautious on Iran aid to militants

Military cautious on Iran aid to militants

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Washington Times: The spokesman for Gen. David H. Petraeus said that a quote he e-mailed to The Washington Times for the article in yesterday’s paper headlined “Iran no longer aids Iraq militants” was not clear and therefore misinterpreted. The Washington Times

By Sara A. Carter

The spokesman for Gen. David H. Petraeus said that a quote he e-mailed to The Washington Times for the article in yesterday’s paper headlined “Iran no longer aids Iraq militants” was not clear and therefore misinterpreted.

Col. Steven Boylan said, “It is not clear if Iran’s leaders stopped supplying weapons or training to extremist elements in Iraq. We hope that they have, but until we can confirm it, we are in the wait and see mode.”

The colonel sent a list of answers to questions sent by The Times regarding the situation in Iraq and Iran’s involvement in the Islamist insurgency there.

Col. Boylan, in Baghdad, was sent the question: “The Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to a Pentagon report, is still contributing weapons and training to extremists in Iraq — how is this affecting the troops’ ability to stabilize the situation in some of the more volatile regions of [the”> country?”

The answer from Col. Boylan stated that “we are ready to confirm the excellence of the senior Iranian leadership in their pledge to stop the funding, training, equipment and resourcing of the militia special groups.”

In a phone call from Iraq yesterday, Col. Boylan said his quote didn’t mean that the U.S. military was “ready to confirm” that Iran was abiding by its pledge but only a confirmation “that there was a pledge from the senior levels in Iran to the senior level of government in Iraq that they would stop.”

“I am more than willing to say there was confusion on the part of the intent of the word ‘ready,” ” he said, regarding the original quote he provided to The Times.

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Iran no longer aids Iraq militants

The Washington Times

By Sara A. Carter

January 3, 2008

Iran’s leaders are no longer supplying weapons or training to Islamic militants in Iraq, the spokesman for the top U.S. commander in Iraq told The Washington Times.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, sees Iran as following through on assurances it made to Iraqi and U.S. officials last fall not to assist extremists in Iraq, spokesman Col. Steven Boylan said, adding that other U.S. officials have noted declines in Iranian weapons and funds to Iraqi insurgents.

“We are ready to confirm the excellence of the senior Iranian leadership in their pledge to stop the funding, training, equipment and resourcing of the militia special groups,” Col. Boylan said. “We have seen a downward trend in the signature-type attacks using weapons provided by Iran.”

In October, U.S. military officials began noticing a decrease in the supply of Iranian weapons and assistance, Col. Boylan added.

The disclosure comes just weeks after a National Intelligence Estimate pruned back its assessment of Iran’s nuclear program, saying “with high confidence” that the Islamic republic had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Tehran’s aid for Islamic militias in Iraq and its nuclear program have resulted in calls from some in Washington for military action against Iran, and these two developments are likely to dampen such calls.

Some outside analysts have argued, though, that Iran-based aid may be getting to Iraqi insurgents without the approval of the government in Tehran.

But the colonel cautioned that while Iran’s efforts are promising, U.S. military officials remain wary, partly over some contrary events on the ground in Iraq.

For example, he disclosed that U.S. troops “recently captured individuals who have been in Iran, training, as short as 45-60 days ago.” He did not elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the captured individuals or the possible investigation.

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