- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld accused Iran yesterday of allowing weapons to be exported to insurgents in Iraq who use them to kill U.S. troops, coalition forces and civilians.

“It is true that weapons, clearly, unambiguously, from Iran have been found in Iraq,” Mr. Rumsfeld said in one of his sharpest attacks on the hard-line Islamic regime in Tehran. “It’s notably unhelpful for the Iranians to be allowing weapons of those types to cross the border.”

Commanders have said they have seen evidence that deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the chief killer of Americans and allied Iraqis, were assembled in Iran.

Commanders have stopped short of accusing Tehran of funding the bomb making. But Mr. Rumsfeld went a step further yesterday at a Pentagon press conference, saying Iran was “allowing” weapons to enter Iraq.

“It’s a problem for the Iraqi government,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “It’s a problem for the coalition forces. It’s a problem for the international community. And, ultimately, it’s a problem for Iran.”

Syria has received most of Washington’s wrath for allowing foreign fighters and suicide bombers by the hundreds to pass through Damascus, get training, financing and passports, and then slip into Iraq.

In an interview with The Washington Times last year, Mr. Rumsfeld said Iran was funneling people and money into Iraq to try to influence the political process.

The Times previously reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the regime’s ideological enforcer, pumped cash into southern Iraq to aid extremist Shi’ites who support turning Iraq into a theocracy, just like Iran.

On the overall war, Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, continued to be generally upbeat on Iraq’s political progress, but tight-lipped on when the U.S. can turn over all counterinsurgency missions to the 178,000-strong Iraqi security forces.

Gen. Myers said that, while the political process may convince Sunni insurgents to stop fighting and join the new Iraq, it will not stop al Qaeda-linked terror leader Abu Musab Zarqawi.

“There is one that will not be deterred, and that’s the al Qaeda piece, the Zarqawi piece,” Gen. Myers said.

Mr. Rumsfeld said: “Dick Myers said Zarqawi’s not going to give up. That’s what he does. He gets up in the morning and wants to recruit people and arm them and finance them and kill people, preferably anybody he can get his hands on. … That’s what he does. He isn’t going to give up.”

Gen. Myers talked about how relatively easy it is for a small band of insurgents to inflict casualties. The attack last week that killed 14 Marines in an amphibious assault vehicle (AAV) was a bomb made of three mines piled on top of each other. The general said it took few insurgents to carry out that operation.

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