Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he believes most Iraqis do not want Iranian influence in their country's internal affairs and favor a representative, non-dictatorial government.
Mr. Rumsfeld says neighboring countries should not try to influence events in Iraq as it emerges from years of dictatorial rule.
Speaking in an interview with the Associated Press, the U.S. Defense Secretary says that applies to Iran. And he makes clear the United States will not permit formation of an Iranian-style theocracy in Iraq.
"If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen," he said.
Iran has rejected U.S. suggestions that Tehran is interfering in Iraq's transition to a new government.
But U.S. officials say Iran has influenced recent Iraqi protests against the American military presence in the country.