AFP: London has offered Tehran evidence supporting British government claims that Iran is linked to attacks on British troops in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Sunday. AFP
LONDON – London has offered Tehran evidence supporting British government claims that Iran is linked to attacks on British troops in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Sunday.
Iran swiftly denied the charge, supported on Sunday by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“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 (militant group) Hezbollah and to Iran,” Straw told reporters in London.
“That is the evidence. 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 Hezbollah to ensure that this continued use of Hezbollah technology stops in Iraq,” he added.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior officials have said there is evidence that a series of deadly attacks on troops in southern Iraq lead back to Iran and Hezbollah.
However, Iran’s ambassador to Britain, Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli, denied the charge after Straw’s comments.
“We have already rejected categorically any link between Iran and the incidents that have taken place in Iraq for the British troops,” he told BBC radio on Sunday.
“There is not any kind of direct or indirect connection with Iran.
“Finding any devices similar to the Iranian devices in Iraq is not a surprise, because between these two countries there were eight years of war. There are lots of Iraqi devices in Iran, and lots of Iranian devices there.
“You cannot link this as evidence for Iranian involvement in these kind of things.”
Adeli added that Tehran wished to see stability in Iraq.
“We would not be in any way… supporting any kind of violence in Iraq, including violence against British troops,” he insisted.
Meanwhile speaking also to BBC radio, Rice said that she had “every reason to believe that the British are right about” Iran’s link.
“I trust the British on this issue because the British are operating in the south (of Iraq).
They know the situation there. The British are our allies, I have every confidence in what the British are saying,” the secretary of state added.