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Rice: Iran meddling, supporting violence in Iraq

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Iran Focus: London, Dec. 14 – United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that Iran was meddling in Iraqi affairs and supporting violence in its eastern neighbour, and that the international community had to find a way to stop Tehran from creating problems for a stable and democratising Middle East.
Iran Focus

London, Dec. 14 – United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that Iran was meddling in Iraqi affairs and supporting violence in its eastern neighbour, and that the international community had to find a way to stop Tehran from creating problems for a stable and democratising Middle East.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation two days before the parliamentary elections set to take place in Iraq, Rice said that Iran and Iraq were “showing themselves to be no friends of the Iraqi people”.

“Syria has still not taken sufficient action to stop the terrorists who cross into Iraq from its territory. And Iran continues to meddle in Iraqi affairs and to support violence in Iraqi society”, Rice said.

She said that Washington had a problem with Iran’s support for terrorists in Iraq. “The British, for instance, have talked about their concerns that the Iranians might be providing certain kinds of technology to enhance the capability of attacks in that region. We know that Iran wants to be involved in non-transparent ways in the politics of Iraq”.

The U.S. Secretary of State added that there had to be an “international spotlight” on Tehran’s meddling in Iraq.

“I don’t have any sense that the Iraqis wish to trade the tyranny of Saddam Hussein for the tyranny of the mullahs in Iran”, she said, adding, “To the degree that Iraq becomes stronger, I think Iran will find it harder to do what it’s trying to do”.

Rice said, however, that in the short term, the international community had to “draw attention” to Iranian meddling and to “say to Iran this is not acceptable”.

“It speaks to a larger problem with Iran, which is that it is a state that is out of step with the direction in the Middle East. It is a state that we worry a great deal about its pursuit of nuclear technology that would lead to a nuclear weapon. I think the international community is united that that cannot happen. It is a state that supports Palestinian rejectionists as well as groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which is continuing to try to cause difficulties in places like Lebanon, at a time when the international community is trying to support a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“And perhaps most importantly, it is a regime that where an unelected few frustrate the aspirations of a great people — the Iranian people. These are a people who are educated and cultured and scientifically in the lead, and they suffer under this terrible regime. Now, the recent comments by their new President have, I think, sharpened the contradictions and made clearer that this regime is out of step with the international community. And I do think that it has to be said, it has to be spoken, that Iran is a problem for a stable and democratising Middle East and the international community will have to find a way to deal with that”, she added.

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