US says detained Iranians provided weapons to Iraqi ”insurgents”
Five Iranians arrested by American troops in northern Iraq are linked to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard group that provides weapons to Iraqi "insurgents," the U.S. military said on Sunday.
The five were detained on Thursday in an American raid on an Iranian government office in the Iraqi city of Arbil. "Preliminary results revealed the five detainees are connected to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard - Qods Force (IRGC-QF), an organisation known for providing funds, weapons, improvised explosive device technology and training to extremist groups attempting to destabilise the Government of Iraq and attack Coalition forces," the U.S. military said in a statement, cited by Reuters.
"The Multi-National Force, in keeping with U.S. policy, will continue to disrupt logistical support to extremists that originate from outside Iraq," it said.
However, Iranian authorities rejected the claim, saying that the US raid on Iran's consulate general was an attempt to harm relations between Iraq and Iran, while pressuring Iran to implement US policy.
"The US also intends to harm friendly and brotherly ties between Iran and Iraq," said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini according to IRNA.
Hossaini stated that Iran would pursue the case of the US attack on Iran's consulate general with the United Nations.
He also added that the US plan would not work since "the Iranian and Iraqi nations enjoy deep-rooted bonds."
"Such US measures are aimed at putting the blame on a third party. The US officials do not intend to accept their failure in Iraq," he said.