Published on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 by McClatchy
Joint Chiefs Chairman Sees No Evidence of Meddling by Iran's Regime
by Jonathan S. Landay
A day after the U.S. military charged Iran's government with shipping
powerful explosive devices to Shiite Muslim fighters in Iraq to use against
American troops, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that
he hasn't seen any intelligence to support the claim.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace's comment could make it harder for the Bush
administration, its credibility about
pre-war claims about Saddam Hussein, to make its case that Iranian meddling
At a briefing Sunday in Baghdad, U.S. military officials said the al-Quds
Force, an elite Iranian paramilitary organization, is sending arms into Iraq
that include bombs that shoot molten metal jets through the armor of
American tanks and Humvees.
They said these "explosively formed projectiles," or EFPs, have killed 170
highest level of the Iranian government."
Asked about the briefing during a visit Monday to
said he couldn't substantiate the assertion that the clerical regime in
"We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in
What I would not say is that the Iranian government per se knows about
this," Pace replied. "It is clear that Iranians are involved and it is clear
that materials from
know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."
Neither the White House nor the Pentagon responded to requests for an
explanation of the apparent contradiction between the nation's
highest-ranking military officer and his subordinates in
intelligence agencies believe the al-Quds Force, a component of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard Corps, couldn't conduct such a major undertaking without
the knowledge of top leaders.
"Based on our understanding of the Iranian system and the history of the
IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) operations, the IC (intelligence
community) assesses that activity this extensive on the part of the Quds
Force would not be conducted without approval from top leaders in Iran," the
senior intelligence official said.
The official requested anonymity because intelligence on
classified. But his remarks, translated from intelligence parlance, indicate
the arms deliveries, as one briefer in
instead has concluded that they probably approved them.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied Monday that
weapons to Shiite militias in
Shiites against minority Sunni Muslims, contending that the
presence is to blame for the bloodshed.
"We are asking for peace, we are asking for security," he said on ABC's
"Good Morning America." "We are opposed to any kind of conflict and also the
presence of foreign forces in
you are showing us some pieces of papers and you call them documents - they
do not solve any problem," said Ahmadinejad. "There should be a court to
prove the case and verify the case."
President Bush and his top lieutenants contend that
Shiite militias that have seized control of much of southern
American forces and driven minority Sunnis out of large areas of
response to Sunni insurgent attacks.
Democratic lawmakers and other administration critics, including some former
its case against
nuclear weapons facilities.
White House spokesman Tony Snow reiterated on Monday that the
has no plans to attack
"I don't know how much clearer we can be: We're not getting ready for war in
The administration and its European allies believe that
facilities are being used to develop nuclear weapons.
program is strictly for civilian power generation.