May 29th, 2007 06:38 EST
U.S. Says, Iran Must Halt Support for Militant Groups in Iraq
Washington –Iraqi, Iranian and U.S. officials found "broad agreement" on overall policy and principles regarding "support for a secure, stable, democratic, federal Iraq, in control of its own security, at peace with its neighbors, "Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said following a meeting of all three parties May 28 in Baghdad, Iraq.
He told reporters that the Iranian government’s actions to provide arms and explosives to the insurgency in Iraq contradicts Iran's own stated policy of supporting a stable, secure and peaceful Iraq. (See related article.)
"We all are pretty much in the same place in terms of declaratory policy," Crocker said. "The problem lies, in our view, with the Iranians not bringing their behavior on the ground into line with their own policy."
Crocker said he made clear to the Iranians that the United States had "solid evidence" linking Iran to attacks by armed militant groups in Iraq on U.S. and Iraqi soldiers as well as innocent Iraqi civilians.
The evidence points to Iranian deliveries of armaments to radical Sunni as well as Shiite groups, primarily through the al-Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to Crocker.
"We made it clear that we know what they're doing and that these attacks need to stop," he added.
The Iranian delegation laid out the general principles guiding their policy toward Iraq, which Crocker characterized as very close to those of both Iraq and the United States. The tone of the four-hour meeting was very businesslike, according to Crocker, who said that the discussions were conducted in Arabic, Persian and English.
"I was somewhat encouraged that Iran laid out its policy in positive terms," Crocker said, while reiterating that what really counts is what happens on the ground to improve Iraqi security. He added that the Baghdad meeting was an outgrowth of the Iraq Neighbors’ Conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, May 4. (See related article.)
In response to questions, Crocker said the meeting dealt exclusively with Iraqi security issues, and did not address other subjects, such as the detention of U.S. citizens of Iranian descent by the Iranian authorities. (See related article).
Transcripts of Crocker’s remarks to the press after the meeting is available on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
By Howard Cincotta
USINFO Special Correspondent