'Violence in Iraq fuelled by IRAN'

Dean Yates

Dean Yates

IRAQ - The US military commander in Iraq has stepped up accusations that Iran was stoking violence in Iraq and said Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad was a member of the Revolutionary Guards Qods force.

Washington accuses the force, the elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, of inciting bloodshed in Iraq and of training and equipping militias who have attacked US troops.

General David Petraeus, speaking at a US military base, about 30km from the Iranian border on Saturday, said Iran was giving advanced weaponry to militias in Iraq.

"They are responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases, the direction for operations that have indeed killed US soldiers," he said.

In August, President George W Bush said attacks on US troops with Iranian-supplied weapons were increasing.

He told commanders in Iraq to "confront Tehran's murderous activities".

In Baghdad yesterday, eight people were killed in three separate bombings.

On Thursday, an Iraqi Shi'ite mayor and four of his guards were killed in an attack south of the capital.

The Iranian embassy in Baghdad had no immediate comment. - Reuters