VIEWS OF IRAN’S INVOLVEMENT: US VS. IRAQI

BAGHDAD, Feb 4 (KUNA) — Iraqi President Jalal Al-Talabani on Sunday said that Iranians expressed readiness to cooperate with the Iraqi authorities and the local American military command to implement a new security plan in the country….“I’ve sensed on their part understanding of the conditions in Iraq and I believe that they have exerted tremendous and successful efforts with the armed militias accused of involvement in terrorist acts,” the president said. “The Iranians have stood on our side since the first days of the liberation as they have backed the liberation and the ruling council and the elections and the Iraqi constitution,” he said.

INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY PLAYS DOWN IRAN’S ROLE IN IRAQ: 2/4/07

….The U.S. government’s data, however, show that Sunni insurgents, not Shiite militias supported by Iran, have been responsible for most American combat deaths….“The vast majority of Americans who are being killed are still being killed by IEDs [improvised explosive devices] set by Sunnis,” said Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA and White House expert on Persian Gulf affairs.

“The administration is between a rock and a hard place here,” said a senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking anonymously because the intelligence on Iran is highly classified. “On one hand, they have to convince people here and abroad that this time they’re telling the truth and they’ve got the goods, which won’t be easy. And a lot of our friends in the region, like the Saudis and the Israelis and the Lebanese, are nervous and want us to get tough with Iran.”

….Intelligence officials said they have strong evidence of Iranian support for Iraqi Shiite militias, especially the Mahdi Army. The question is how great a role they’re playing in the conflict….weapons include shaped-charge explosives capable of breaching advanced armor, armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenades and Katyusha rockets, the senior U.S. intelligence official said….Iran’s motives remain murky, he said.

“Are the Iranians mucking around in Iraq? You bet,” he said. “Do they want to make sure they’ve got a government in Baghdad that’s simpatico instead of another war? Yep. But are they fighting a secret war against the Americans in Iraq? We have no evidence of that.”

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003555705_usiran04.html

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