US warns Iran not to interfere with Iraq Shi'ite population
The United States said on Wednesday Iran has been told not to try to interfere with Iraq's Shi'ite population and advance Iranian interests.
"We've made clear to Iran that we would oppose any outside interference in Iraq's road to democracy," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "Infiltration of agents to destabilize the Shi'ite population would clearly fall into that category."
Fleischer said the message had been sent through "well-known channels of communication" with Iran.
Earlier, The New York Times, citing unnamed U.S. officials, said Iranian-trained agents have crossed into southern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein and worked to promote friendly relations with Iraqi Shiite clerics and advance Iranian interests.
The newspaper said US defense and other officials cited intelligence reports that say the agents include members of the military wing of an Iraqi exile group that operates from Iran - with training and support for the Iranian government.
The armed group is known as the Badr Brigade and is affiliated with the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite organization with headquarters in Tehran.
U.S. officials were also quoted as saying the agents who have crossed into Iraq may include members of a special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. The agents were said to be working in the Iraqi cities of Najaf, Basra, and Karbala. (Albawaba.com)
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