Saturday, 02 July 2011
Iranian Defense Minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, dismissed as “ridiculous lies” US claims that Tehran smuggled weapons to Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported Saturday.
“The ridiculous and repeated lies of the Americans are aimed at justifying their own errors,” General Vahidi was quoted as saying.
General Vahidi instead advised the US to review their policies and tactics in the region, stressing that Washington’s policies are the cause of the “failure of its plans in the region.”
“The people of no country would ever tolerate presence of security mercenaries on their lands and Iraqi people are no exception to this fact,” General Vahidi said.
The Wall Street Journal on Friday quoted unnamed US officials as saying Iran supplied allies in Iraq and Afghanistan with rocket-assisted exploding projectiles.
Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has supplied its allies with rocket-assisted exploding projectiles, which have already killed American troops.
The officials said Iranians had also given long-range rockets to the Taliban in Afghanistan, increasing the insurgents’ ability to hit US and other coalition positions from a safer distance, the report said.
“I think we are likely to see these Iranian-backed groups continue to maintain high attack levels,” Major General James Buchanan, the top US military spokesman in Iraq, told The Journal. “But they are not going to deter us from doing everything we can to help the Iraqi security forces.”
Violence killed more Iraqis last month than at any time since September, figures showed on Friday after the US reported deaths that also made June the deadliest month for its troops in Iraq for three years.
The Baghdad government blames Al Qaeda for most of the 271 deaths of its citizens last month, while the US military accuses Iranian-backed Shiite insurgent groups for the attacks that killed 14 Americans.
According to the US, three separate militias have been involved in the attacks, particularly a small but deadly group known as the Hezbollah Brigades, believed to be funded and trained by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard and its special operations wing, the Quds Force.
Data compiled by the health, interior and defense ministries showed that 155 civilians, 77 policemen and 39 soldiers died in attacks last month, 34 percent more than the 177 killed in May.
The majority of American troops killed in June died in rocket attacks against military bases, or by roadside bombs that targeted their convoys.
Last month’s toll was the highest since June 2008, when 23 American soldiers were killed, at a time when US forces were directly involved in fighting insurgents.
Earlier in the week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, blamed the US presence in Iraq for the worsening security situation in the war-torn country and the region.
Speaking at a meeting with Iraq’s President Jalal Talebani in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei called the US presence in Iraq as “a source of problems in the country and in the region.”