UPI: The White House accused Iran Thursday of trying to
shape Iraq's transitional government and said such actions needed to stop. Spokesman Scott McClellan did not detail how that influence was being exerted. "We have had increasing concerns about Iran trying to influence the shape of the transitional government," he said. "This must be an Iraqi process free from outside interference, especially from those
in the neighborhood." United Press International

Washington, DC - The White House accused Iran Thursday of trying to shape Iraq's transitional government and said such actions needed to stop.

Spokesman Scott McClellan did not detail how that influence was being exerted.

"We have had increasing concerns about Iran trying to influence the shape of the transitional government," he said. "This must be an Iraqi process free from outside interference, especially from those in the neighborhood."

Iraq's Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance won the majority of seats to a transitional national assembly in January, but still needs to forge a coalition for a government representative of the country's ethnic and religious makeup.

The United States and Iraq's interim authorities have accused Iran in the past of using operatives and money to push pro-Tehran Shiite politicians.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, backed by the Shiite clergy, is seen as a likely pick for prime minister. Jaafari spent years of exile in Iran.

"They are trying to influence the process to have Iran-friendly candidates selected to the transitional government, to have Iran-friendly persons elevated to the leadership roles and to make sure the transitional government is favorable to Iran, an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, MClellan said.

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