Iran, accused by the United States of stirring up an Iraqi insurgency, said on Saturday "terrorist" groups should be stopped from entering Iraq because they created an excuse for foreign troops to stay.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said in a speech to a meeting of ministers from Baghdad's neighbours that surrounding states were committed to ensuring stability in Iraq.
"It is necessary to stop the crossing of terrorist groups into Iraq who aim at creating insecurity, hatred and differences, and pave the way for the presence of foreign forces in Iraq," Ahmadinejad told the foreign ministers in Tehran.
He did not say from where or how the groups were entering Iraq.
Washington accuses Tehran of backing anti-U.S. insurgents in Iraq, a charge Tehran denies saying the U.S. occupation is to blame for the instability.
"Stability, security and progress of Iraq strengthens stability, security and progress in the whole Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said.
"We are all committed to try to restore stability, security and progress in Iraq," he told the gathering.
Syria, which sent its foreign minister to Tehran, has also been accused by Washington of not doing enough to stop militants crossing into Iraq. Damascus insists it is doing its best.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose government has launched a national reconciliation plan, said on Tuesday during a tour of the region that Gulf Arab states had promised to crack down harder on funding for the Sunni Muslim insurgency.
Most Arab states are ruled by Sunni Arabs, the majority sect within Islam, and some of these view with suspicion Iraq's Shi'ite majority. Non-Arab Iran is also mainly Shi'ite.
Iraqi officials have said some Iraqi insurgents have asked other Arab states to act as mediators following the government's offer of dialogue to end the violence.
Ministers and officials from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey were among those attending the meeting, as well as Egypt, which does not share a border with Iraq. Arab League chief Amr Moussa also attended.
Ahmadinejad used his speech to launch one of his regular attacks on Israel, a country his Islamic government does not recognise. He said: "The root of the problems of the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime." ("Iran Says 'Terrorists' Should Not Be Let into Iraq," Reuters, 8 July 2006)
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Iran and Iraq
My Persian Prince ought to be careful. Sectarian foreign terrorists in Iraq, yes, must be put down, but he can lose in Iraq all the capital he earned in Palestine, if things go wrong, especially if he practices sectarianism of his own. He can't afford any ethnic insurgency at home either.