WASHINGTON, July 2 (KUNA) -- The United States on Monday did not rule out that Iranian officials were well aware of Hezbollah operations inside Iraq in the wake of a number of arrests of Hezbollah members in Iraq.
"It is an opaque regime," State Department Spokesman Sean McCormick said of the Iranian government. "But it would be surprising if the Iranian leadership or Iranian senior officials were at least, at the very least witting of the activities of this group in Iraq." Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, Deputy Chief of Staff for strategic effects, said earlier that the US and coalition forces have been fighting fiercely against what he called "special groups and militia extremists (who are) funded, trained and armed by external sources, specifically, by Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Qods Forces." He announced the arrest in southern Iraq of Ali Musa Daqduq and Kais Kazali, whom he described as Hezbollah fighters, with Daqduq, Lebanese-born, serving for the past 24 years in Lebanese Hezbollah.
"He was in Iraq working as a surrogate for Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force operatives involved with special groups." He said Daqduq, who was directed by senior Lebanese Hezbollah leadership in 2005 to go to Iran and work with the Qods Force to train Iraqi extremists, along with Hezbollah instructors, train approximately 20 to 60 Iraqis at a time, sending them back to Iraq for operations to destabilize Iraq.
He also said the Qods forces and Hezbollah are supplying the special groups with weapons and funding of USD 750,000 to three million a month.
"Without this support, these special groups would be hard pressed to conduct their operations in Iraq," he said.
McCormick, without directly referring to the Iranian government, said Iran has been a destabilizing factor in Iraq and acts in contrary to what it publicly said.
"We would urge the Iranian government to reconsider its current course of action. If we do have another meeting with them, you can be certain that this will be a topic of discussion. And the message will be clear that the Iranian government needs to cease and desist these kinds of activities.
"They say that they want to play a more helpful role in Iraq, that they want to help stabilize Iraq. Well, these kinds of activities serve exactly the opposite purpose.
"So it is of deep concern to us," he said. (end) sa.bs KUNA 022327 Jul 07NNNN