News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqPetraeus says Iran still training Iraq militants

Petraeus says Iran still training Iraq militants

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AFP: The commander of US forces in Iraq said on Wednesday that Iran was continuing to train militants despite Tehran’s pledge to cut all support for the insurgency. ZURBITIYAH, Iraq (AFP) — The commander of US forces in Iraq said on Wednesday that Iran was continuing to train militants despite Tehran’s pledge to cut all support for the insurgency.

General David Petraeus said he was uncertain if supplies of weapons flowing into Iraq from Iran was decreasing, but said that Iranian training of militants posed a serious threat to Iraq’s stability.

Asked whether Iran had stopped the flow of money and weapons into Iraq, Petraeus told reporters: “We honestly don’t know, it is unclear. We do know that training (of Iraqi militants in Iran) has continued.

“It is at an important scale, because these are individuals with considerable skill who can train other individuals in Iraq.

“It is a very unhelpful addition to the mix. We call it a lethal accelerant to a situation in Iraq that already has enough challenges.”

US President George W. Bush said on Saturday after meeting Petraeus in Kuwait that Iran had to stop supporting the militia special groups that attack Iraqi and coalition forces.

“Iranian agents are in our custody, and we are learning more about how Iran has supported extremist groups with training and lethal aid.”

Petraeus, on a visit to the Zurbitiyah border post which lies east of Baghdad on the frontier with Iran, said he was uncertain whether the level of weapons coming into the country from Iran was rising or falling.

“The signature attacks that employ Iranian-provided weapons have decreased substantially,” he told a small group of reporters.

“The EFPs (explosively formed penetrators) had been running at a low level until about the first 10 to 12 days of this month, when we saw a noticeable increase but in the last several days they have gone down again.

“We are uncertain if that was a trend or not, so we will just have to watch the scene for a while.”

“We are obviously hoping to confirm that the Iranians are living up to their pledges… to stop the funding, training, arming and directing of extremist groups in Iraq. Only time will tell.”

Petraeus was inspecting the border post at Zurbitiyah where coalition forces established a presence two years ago in a bid to stop weapons and insurgents from slipping into Iraq.

New technology has been installed at the post to screen trucks, luggage and people.

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