News

Bush Says Iran Sending Arms to Iraq

President Bush says he is convinced an elite Iranian military unit with government ties is putting weapons in the hands of Iraqi insurgents. But, as VOA's Paula Wolfson reports, Mr. Bush says he does not know for sure if Iran's top leaders are involved.

The weapons in question include the deadly roadside bombs that can pierce armor, and have claimed the lives of more than 170 coalition troops.

Military officials in Baghdad who briefed reporters Sunday said these weapons have markings that show the components were made in Iran. These officials, who spoke on the condition they would not be identified, linked the arms transfers to the highest levels of the Iranian government.

The following day, America's highest military officer, General Peter Pace, said that while he had no doubt the weapons came from Iran, there was no direct connection to Iranian leaders.

His comments, first reported by VOA, created a stir in Washington - suggesting a disconnect within the Bush administration. But when the general was asked again, he was adamant that just because the weapons came from Iran does not necessarily mean they were shipped on orders from top officials in Tehran.

"That does not translate to that the Iranian government per se [specifically], for sure, is directly involved in doing this," said General Pace.

President Bush finally weighed in personally on the matter at a White House news conference Wednesday.

The president sided with General Pace, saying he does not know for sure if the shipments were ordered by Iran's leaders, who have denied any involvement. But he said he was certain weapons were transferred to Iraq by members of an elite Iranian military unit - the al-Quds Force - with government ties.

"That's a known," said President Bush. "What we don't know is whether or not the head leaders of Iran ordered the Quds Force to do what they did."

Mr. Bush went on to say no matter what role the top echelons of the Iranian government have played in the weapons transfers, there is ample cause for concern.

"Whether [Iran's President] Ahmadinejad ordered the Quds force to do this, I don't know," he said. "But we do know that they are there and I intend to do something about it."

The president also brought up the dispute over Tehran's nuclear intentions, and warned of the potential of a nuclear armed Iran. Under questioning, he once again ruled out the possibility of direct talks between the United States and Iran on this controversial issue, saying success is much more likely when other countries are involved in the negotiations.

Britain, France and Germany are working with the United States to convince Iran to give up its nuclear processing program. Iran says it is creating fuel for nuclear power plants. But America and its allies stress the technology can also be used to make a nuclear bomb.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs