Iran Views Petraeus-Crocker Report as Baseless

A002198013.jpgIran dismissed the latest US strategy report on Iraq as “unrealistic” and warned it would not take part in future talks on Iraqi security unless Washington was serious. Iran’s top national security official Ali Larijani said Washington was wrong to say improvements in security in Iraq were thanks to its “surge” in troop numbers. Credit should go to the Iraqi government and its neighbors, he said.

The top US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, told Congress in testimony on Monday that the “surge” of some 30,000 more troops into Baghdad was working and that US troop numbers could recede by next summer.

“They are giving the credit to a few troops that they added. I think that the picture of Iraq portrayed in the report was unrealistic. It was not in line with reality,” Larijani told reporters.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini earlier said, “This report will not save the United States from the Iraqi quagmire.

“It was clear from the very start that this report was being prepared in advance of the next US (presidential) elections as a response to the needs of the neo-conservatives to justify continuing to occupy Iraq,” he added.

Larijani meanwhile warned the United States that Tehran would not be interested in having further talks over security in Iraq if all Washington wanted was to have “fun” in the discussions.

The US and Iranian ambassadors to Baghdad have held two rounds of talks on Iraqi security this year in landmark meetings that were the highest level contact between the two sides in years.

“If the main objective is to help the Iraqi government and improve security, definitely we will support such a move and continue our negotiations with the United States,” Larijani said.

“But if it is going to be a kind of fun, we are beyond that stage and we should look at the issue in a more serious way. We should be serious about the fate of the Iraqi people.”

Petraeus had on Monday also accused Iran of fighting a “proxy war” in Iraq through the covert operations unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Qods force.

His remarks were the latest complaint over Iran’s role in Iraq by the United States, which accuses Tehran of shipping bombs into the country for attacks on US troops and of helping to train Shiite militias.

“Such accusations are without foundation and only seek to transfer responsibility for the grave errors committed by American leaders to neighboring countries,” said Hosseini.

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