Thursday, August 11, 2005

IRAQI: IRAN SMUGGLING REPORTS EXAGGERATED

BAGHDAD, Iraq -

Iraq's interior minister said Wednesday that reports of deadly roadside bombs being smuggled into this country from Iran are exaggerated

On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said some insurgent weapons are entering Iraq from Iran although it's unclear whether they were coming from elements of the Iranian government or from other parties.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr told reporters that Iraqi security forces recently opened fire on a group of men carrying boxes near the Iranian border. The men dropped the boxes and fled back into Iranian territory. Inside the boxes were dynamite sticks with some wires.

"This is all that happened at the border and was very much exaggerated," Jabr said.

Appearing before parliament, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari dodged questions about the use of Iranian weapons by the insurgents. Al-Jaafari, who spent years in exile in Iran, referred questions to the interior and defense ministries.

Al-Jaafari was responding to a question by a Shiite Muslim legislator, Hussein al-Sadr, about U.S. allegations that weapons were coming in from Iran.

"Concerning me, I don't comment on reports especially if they are coming from abroad," al-Jaafari said. "It should not be that someone says something and we sit here and open a conversation about it. We have our own sources."

source (ap)

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