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US Administrator Says Iranian Agents Are Helping Iraqi Guerrillas - 2003-09-19


The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, in a newspaper interview, has accused Iranian agents of aiding groups carrying out attacks in Iraq and hampering reconstruction efforts.

U.S. administrator Paul Bremer told a British newspaper that Iranian agents are aiding guerillas carrying out attacks against Iraqis and coalition military forces.

U.S. forces in Iraq are under daily attacks, and terrorist bombings of civilian targets in recent weeks have claimed more than 150 lives.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Bremer said that Iranian intelligence agents have been aiding groups that have carried out violent attacks in different parts of Iraq, and said that Tehran has been meddling in various ways in the country.

Mr. Bremer also was quoted as saying the Syrian government could do more to prevent terrorists from crossing their border into Iraq, but did not accuse Damascus of direct complicity.

U.S. officials have long stated that foreign fighters have been operating inside Iraq and attacking American soldiers. The officials have also said in the past they suspect fighters have crossed from Saudi Arabia as well.

Iran, which has been named by President Bush as being part of an "axis of evil," has been increasingly worried about the large U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq, fearing it could become a future target.

The United States has accused Tehran of having a secret nuclear weapons program, and leads an international diplomatic campaign to compel Tehran to come clean on its nuclear program by the end of October or face sanctions.

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