TEHRAN (AFP) -Iran denied yesterday US accusations that a unit of its Revolutionary Guards, the Quds Force, was working inside Iraq to foment more unrest in its conflict-torn neighbour.
“Their statements are unreal and unwise,” national security chief Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by the ISNA student news agency.
A top US general on Sunday charged that around 50 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards are inside Iraq and training Shiite extremists to launch attacks on US and Iraqi security forces.
Major General Rick Lynch, commander of US forces in central Iraq, said that members of the Quds Force have set up base in Babil, Karbala and Najaf provinces and the southern outskirts of the capital.
“If there are 50 members of the Quds force in Iraq, give the names of five of them,” challenged Larijani.
“Some people say arms with ‘made in Iran’ written onto them have entered Iraq from Iran. It is obvious that these statements are wrong,” he added.
The US military has regularly accused the Quds Force of training Iraqi militants in the use of rockets and explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) — fist-sized bombs capable of slicing through heavy armour — but Lynch’s comments were first claims that they are operating inside Iraq.
The Quds Force is the covert operations unit of the Guards — which the White House is seeking to blacklist as terrorist group.
The United States accuses Shiite-majority Iran of inciting sectarian violence in Iraq. Iran denies the allegation and blames the US-led occupation for Iraq’s insecurity.