The top U.S. military officer says Iraq is at a crossroads, with one path leading to civil war and the other toward freedom and a representative government.

General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the Iraqi people want to take the path toward prosperity and freedom. He added most Iraqi leaders, both elected and religious, are calling for calm and unity.

General Pace spoke Tuesday at a joint press conference in Washington with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Both men said there is no proof Iran's government is involved in sending weapons or specially trained soldiers into Iraq - contrary to recent accusations by the Bush administration.

Separately, Iraqi police say they have recovered more than 80 bodies in and around Baghdad since Monday, including 29 corpses in a mass grave in a Shi'ite suburb.

And the U.S. military says two American soldiers were killed Monday in combat operations in al-Anbar province.

Meanwhile, political leaders have opened meetings aimed at reaching agreement on who will head Iraq's new Cabinet. Sunni Arabs and Kurds are opposing a new term for interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is a Shi'ite.

Parliament holds its inaugural session Thursday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.