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US Official Says Iran Restraining Shi'ite Militias in Iraq


A U.S. official says Iran has reined in the Shi'ite militias it supports in Iraq, contributing to a sharp drop in sophisticated roadside bomb attacks.

In an interview with the Washington Post published Sunday, the State Department's top official on Iraq, David Satterfield, says Iran has decided "at the most senior levels" to restrain Shi'ite militants.

Satterfield says the flow of roadside bombs from Iran may not have stopped, but he says the drop in their use and a decline in overall attacks must be attributed to an Iranian policy decision.

Iraqi police say a roadside bomb exploded Sunday in the Zaafaraniyah district of southern Baghdad, killing two civilians.

Elsewhere, gunmen killed an Iraqi army officer near the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. Also near Mosul, a car bomb exploded near a a police patrol, killing one civilian and wounding five officers.

The Washington Post quotes U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker as urging Iran to confirm a decision to rein in Shi'ite militants. He says such a move would be a good start to a fourth round of talks between him and his Iranian counterpart.

The U.S. and Iran have held three rounds of talks about Iraq this year in Baghdad, easing a 27-year freeze in diplomatic ties. The last meeting was in August.

The Post quotes Satterfield as saying Iran is not acting out of "altruism" but out of alarm that the groups it backs are harming Iran's long-term interests.

Iran denies U.S. charges that its elite Quds force is training and supplying Shi'ite extremists in Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.