The commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, U.S. General David Petraeus, says Iran is fueling violence in Iraq despite entreaties by members of the Iraqi government. General Petraeus also said the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, is a member of Iran’s Quds force, the unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps that is training and arming extremist militias in Iraq.
General Petraeus says Iran is “responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and, in some cases, the direction for operations that have indeed killed U.S. soldiers. The Quds force," he said, "controls the policy for Iraq. The ambassador is a Quds force member. Now he has diplomatic immunity and therefore. . . .not subject [to arrest], and he is acting as a diplomat.”
Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al Rubaie says the Quds force’s lethal support of illegal Iraqi militias was approved by the highest levels of the Iranian government. “There is one policy in Iran and others execute that policy, and that’s done through the National Security Council." And its chairman, said Mr. Rubaie, is the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Within the last year, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has met twice with Iran's ambassador to urge Iran to stop its destructive activity in Iraq. He made clear that the Quds force’s lethal activities contradict Iran's publicly stated policy of supporting the Iraqi government and that the U.S. expected the Iranian government would reign in the Quds force.
General Petraeus says al-Qaida is currently causing the greatest difficulties for soldiers and civilians in Iraq. But, he said, the Iranian-supported extremist militias “could potentially be the long-term problem for Iraq, if. . . .we continue to make progress against al-Qaida.”
Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, commented on the role of the Quds force in Iraq:
“Iraq and Iran should have good relations. But right now, Iran, primarily the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, are training militia that attack Americans and Iraqis; they’re providing explosive devices that kill Americans and kill innocent Iraqis. And we want the Iranian regime to stop that activity.”
While not ruling out additional talks with Iran on the security situation in Iraq, the U.S. has made it very clear, said Mr. Johndroe, that it will continue to take action inside Iraq against Quds force members who are responsible for attacks on Americans and innocent Iraqis.