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U.S. On Iran's Role In Iraq


On his first visit to Baghdad since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said that Iran "will not allow terrorists to use our lands to access Iraq." If Mr. Kharrazi means what he says, that would be welcome news to Iraq's new government.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said recently that "all of our neighbors are not doing enough" to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into Iraq. "Their inaction is helping, is assisting those foreign fighters [allowing them] to move at ease, to cross the borders without any checks, without any attempts…to stop them. They are not doing enough," said Mr. Zebari, "and this is dangerous."

The U.S. believes that Iran's contribution to instability in Iraq goes beyond inaction. Here is U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley:

"We are worried about what Iran is doing in Iraq. We are worried that they are providing assistance to some of the elements that are close to the terrorists and that are in a position to undermine the political process that is going forward."

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says that the U.S. has been "concerned all along about undue influence by Iran…in Iraq's politics or in supporting various groups within Iraq:"

"The bottom line is that Iran's relations with people inside Iraq are not transparent and they need to be made transparent. They need to be normal relations, friendly relations between neighbors. But they shouldn't be in the nature of political influence. They should be in the nature of diplomatic relations."

National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says that the United States is confident that now that the Iraqis have the opportunity to run their own country, they will seize it. "They're not going to turn it over to Iran," said Mr. Hadley.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.

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