Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said again the United States will not allow the establishment of a pro-Iranian government in Iraq.

Mr. Rumsfeld says there is no doubt that Iran is trying to influence events in Iraq.

But speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, the U.S. defense secretary says the Bush administration will not allow Iraq's post-war transformation to be hijacked.

"A vocal minority clamoring to transform Iraq in Iran's image will not be permitted to do so. We will not allow the Iraqi people's democratic transition to be hijacked for, by those who might wish to install another form of dictatorship," he said.

Although Tehran has denied charges it is trying to interfere in Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld says Iran has sent agents across the border.

But he says it is his belief that Iraqis will not be swayed and will "prefer to be governed by Iraqis and not by Persians".