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US Military Says Iran Continues to Help Iraqi Insurgents

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The U.S. command in Baghdad says Iranian operatives are continuing to provide money, weapons and training to Shiite insurgents in Iraq, in spite of promises by Iran's leaders that the activity would stop. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

Colonel Steve Boylan, the spokesman for the top U.S. general in Iraq, says analysis of recent attacks, including rockets launched on Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday, confirm they were carried out by Shiite extremist groups, with the weapons provided recently by Iran.

U.S. officials have said for a long time that operatives of Iran's elite Quds Force had been supplying the Shiite insurgents. But in recent months they have said they could not be sure whether the supply was continuing, after top Iranian leaders promised their Iraqi counterparts it would stop.

Now, Colonel Boylan says, intelligence gathered from detainees, and analysis of rocket fragments from this weekend's attack, indicate Iranian officials are not living up to those promises.

"We don't believe they are, based the ordnance we've been seeing and the types of attacks that have been occurring," he said.

Boylan's comments followed a statement by his boss, General David Petraeus, who told the BBC Monday that Sunday's rocket attack on the Green Zone provided evidence that Iranian operatives continue to fund, train, equip and direct Iraq's Shiite Special Group insurgents. The Special Groups are breakaway factions of the Mahdi Army, whose leader, Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, has declared a ceasefire.

In a VOA interview from Baghdad, the American spokesman, Colonel Boylan, said coalition forces are working to break the insurgent networks.

"I'm not going to get into exactly how we go after either al-Qaida or the Special Groups or any of the assorted networks," he said. "But we do have people that are looking for these. It's not surprising that we would be trying to hone in on and take down the networks."

Boylan could not say how significant the Shiite Special Groups are in Iraq's overall insurgency problem. But officials have said in the past that the groups are a relatively small but particularly lethal element, largely because of the support they get from Iran, particularly high-technology high-powered roadside bombs.

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