British soldiers working with Iraqi troops have seized large amounts of weapons that can be traced to Iran, says British Defense Minister Des Browne. "There is evidence to suggest a significant proportion of the equipment and the armaments being used by insurgents used in Iraq is of Iranian origin or has been transited through Iran," Mr. Browne told British lawmakers. He called Iran's support for insurgent groups unacceptable.
Mr. Browne's comments were made days after the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, spoke of increased Iranian involvement in training and arming fighters in Iraq:
"I'm extremely concerned about what I believe to be an increasingly lethal and malign influence by that government and the Qods Force in particular in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. I believe recent events, especially the Basra operation, have revealed just have much and just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability."
Admiral Mullen said that Iran's support of criminal groups "in the form of munitions and training. ... and the attacks they are encouraging, continues to kill coalition and Iraqi personnel:"
"The Iranian government pledged to halt such activities some months ago. It’s plainly obvious they have not. Indeed they seem to have gone the other way."
In dealing with the problem posed by the Iranian regime, the focus of the U.S. "militarily, is dealing with this threat inside Iraq," said Admiral Mullen. "And, while all options certainly remain open, I’m convinced the solution right now still lies in using other levers of national power, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure."
Admiral Mullen says the Iranian regime’s harmful activities are not confined to Iraq:
"They continue to broadly support terrorists in other parts of the region, whether it's Hezbollah or Hamas, and, in fact, we're seeing some evidence that they're supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan."
Admiral Mullen said he has no expectations that the United States is heading for a military confrontation with Iran.