News

    Pace Stands By Remarks on Iran, Says US Has No Intention of Attacking

    Multimedia

    Audio

    The top U.S. military officer says he believes Iran's government is involved in providing sophisticated explosives to Iraqi insurgents, but he has not seen specific evidence to prove it. The general told VOA, Iran should stop the flow of weaponry and people across its border into Iraq. VOA's Al Pessin is traveling with the general and filed this report from Honolulu.

    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, says people who talk about this issue need to be precise about where their facts end and their analysis begins.

    He says he has no disagreement with others in the U.S. government who have spoken on the subject in recent days. In Canberra, and twice in Jakarta, he repeated that the U.S. government knows material from Iran is being used to make particularly powerful bombs in Iraq, and that Iranians have been arrested twice in the past month participating in the distribution of that material.

    But on all three occasions, General Pace declined to repeat the view of U.S. military briefers in Iraq, who told reporters Sunday that Iran's government is behind the effort.

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

    On board his aircraft, General Pace said he personally believes the Iranian government is involved, but he has not seen proof and does not know how high the involvement goes. In any case, he said, the Iranian government should stop the flow of people and weapons into Iraq.

    The weapons are roadside bombs packed in strong cylinders. When they explode, they shoot a molten metal projectile that can pierce the armor of U.S. military vehicles.

    The military briefers in Iraq, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their claim that senior Iranian officials are directly involved in providing powerful bombs to Iraqi insurgents was a conclusion based on what they called the overall tenor of the available evidence. Their evidence included numerous bomb parts they displayed, and the arrest in Iraq of several Iranians who they say belong to the country's elite Quds force, including its second ranking leader. But the briefers said they have not established a direct link between those men and the bomb-making material they showed reporters.

    The anonymity of the Baghdad briefers, and their unwillingness or inability to provide specific proof for their claim of high-level Iranian government involvement in the Iraqi insurgency, led to much skepticism of the claim around the world.

    But White House spokesman Tony Snow indicated he believes the Baghdad briefers, saying there is not a lot of independent activity in the Iranian government, especially on an issue like supplying weapons to foreign insurgents. And State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the military briefers in Baghdad made a "very strong circumstantial case," and made it very clear that the Iranians are 'up to their eyeballs in this activity.'

    On Wednesday, General Pace told a small group of military educators in Jakarta it is 'not acceptable' for Iran to send weapons to Iraq. But at his news conference Tuesday he said the effort to stop the bomb-making and distribution networks will be pursued only inside Iraq.

    "We can do what we need to do militarily to protect the U.S. armed forces and the other armed forces inside of Iraq, and we will continue to do so aggressively," he said. "The rest of the Iranian story, then, goes to diplomacy amongst nations."

    In the airborne interview, General Pace said there are many ways to get a message to Iran, and that it is not his responsibility to decide whether the United States should speak to Iran directly about the issue. The Bush administration says it will not deal directly with Iran until it suspends its nuclear weapons program.

    The controversy over the Baghdad briefing led the New York Times to write an editorial calling for President Bush to make his intentions toward Iran clear, and saying Congress should not allow itself to be convinced to support what the Times called "another disastrous war."

    Speaking to American military personnel at the U.S. embassy in Canberra on Monday, General Pace said the United States has "zero intent" to use its military forces now in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf against Iran. He said, "I see no need in the present situation for kinetic action against Iran."

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora