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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs