Britain and US give Iran new warning not to back insurgents

Posted in Iran | 17-Oct-05 | Author: Brian Whitaker and Tania Brani| Source: The Independent (UK)

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Britain and the US issued a fresh warning to Iran over its suspected support for Iraqi insurgents yesterday as Tony Blair and the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, met for talks at Chequers.

"What we have presented to the Iranians is evidence which, in our judgment, clearly links the improvised explosive devices which have been used against British and other troops, mainly in the south of Iraq, to Hizbullah and to Iran," the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, told BBC Radio. "We look to the Iranians to desist from anything that they have been involved in in the past, and also to use their very considerable influence with Hizbullah to ensure that this continued use of Hizbullah technology stops in Iraq."

Last week the prime minister said there was evidence linking attacks in southern Iraq to Iran. A senior official also said bombs that killed eight British soldiers had been supplied by the militant Shia organisation, Hizbullah, via the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Ms Rice said Washington had also warned Iran and backed Britain's position. "I have every reason to believe that the British are right about this. I trust the British on this issue. The British are operating in the south, they know the situation there," she told reporters yesterday.

Iran has denied the charges. "We have already rejected categorically any link between Iran and the incidents that have taken place in Iraq for the British troops. There is not any kind of direct or indirect connection with Iran," Seyed Mohammad Adeli, the Iranian ambassador in London told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend.

In what appeared to be a tit-for-tat claim, sections of the Iranian state media blamed Britain for two fatal explosions in south-western Iran on Saturday.