Iran angrily denied British charge of responsibility for the explosions that killed 8 British troops in Iraq as a lie and attempt to foment unrest in Iraq.
Wednesday, a high British official admitted for the first time that Iranians are in contact with Sunni Muslims killing coalition troops in Iraq, as first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly on Sept 30.
The unnamed British official accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps of supplying explosives technology used in deadly attacks on British troops in the summer, obtained from the Lebanese Hizballah. This grave turn of events in the Iraq war and in Tehran’s relations with US-led coalition governments – as reported in DEBKA-Net-Weekly 224 – has not yet drawn a response from Washington. Whereas London attributes Iran’s newly aggressive role in the Iraq war to western pressure on its nuclear program, our analysts link it to Iran’s mutual security pact with Syria.
debkafile runs the DNW item of a week ago here:
“US intelligence officers put the question (of who was mounting these attacks on US troops) when they interrogated captured Sunni guerilla fighters. The answer was surprising. Iraqi fighters admitted, according to our sources, that Iranian intelligence agents posted undercover in Iraq had paid them to attack American troops. The agents had approached them with sizeable sums of cash and a list of US targets. Some Iraqi Sunni groups were finding that it paid handsomely to act as contract killers for Iranian intelligence.
There was only one conclusion to be drawn. Tehran has changed its strategy.
For three years, the Islamic Republic made every effort to hold the intelligence and military units which had been planted across Iraq from staging military operations against US units.
This has now changed. Iran is new using Iraqi Sunnis to strike Americans.
This development was at the center of the White House consultation President Bush held Wednesday with the vice president, the secretary of defense and his top generals. Rumsfeld and the army chiefs reported their reading of the situation:
The Iranians do not appear to be seeking an all-out conformation with the American army in Iraq, but are rather reacting to local US operations. They appear to have hired the Sunni guerillas at the same time as US forces began embarking on forays across the border into Syria. It would seem that Iran is implementing its obligations under its mutual defense treaty with Syria.
The US military chiefs also reported to the president that the attacks on US soldiers are confined to Sunni regions of Iraq, never spilling over into Shiite areas. This is taken to mean that Tehran is bent on harassment in reprisal for US actions, but not the disruption of life in the Shiite areas.
Iraqi sources interviewed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly wondered out loud why the Americans were keeping the low-level Iranian assaults under wraps instead of using publicity as a form of pressure to hold Tehran’s hand.