News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIran still backing extremists in Iraq: US general

Iran still backing extremists in Iraq: US general

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AFP: The former number two US commander in Iraq charged on Tuesday that Iran is still training, funding and arming Shiite extremists in Iraq.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The former number two US commander in Iraq charged on Tuesday that Iran is still training, funding and arming Shiite extremists in Iraq.

“I think we have to keep the pressure on them,” said Lieutenant General Raymond Odierno, who until recently was second in command in Iraq.

“What they ought to stop doing is training surrogates, funding surrogates and supplying weapons to them, which they are still doing today,” he told reporters.

Odierno’s comments came just a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a withdrawal of US forces from Iraq during the first visit ever to Iraq by an Iranian president.

Ahmadinejad was warmly received by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, who said there was “a high level of trust” between them and praised Iran’s recent position toward Iraq as “extremely helpful.”

Odierno acknowledged that Iraq needed good relations with Iran, but questioned whether Iran is being “helpful,” citing its continued support for Shiite extremists.

The general alluded to a boast on Monday by Ahmadinejad that he was able to visit Iraq openly, unlike other foreign leaders who made uannounced visits that lasted just a few hours.

“My comment is I’m not surprised. Because over the last 12 months whenever a visitor would come from the United States, we needed to foil a rocket attack, he said.

“Guess what? That is because it was being done by an Iranian surrogate.”

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