Backgrounder: Iran's Involvement in Iraq
Council on Foreign Relations
Author: Lionel Beehner, Staff Writer
January 31, 2007
U.S. officials have long been concerned by Iran’s involvement in Iraq but have moved more vigorously in recent weeks to counter Tehran’s actions. White House officials accuse Tehran of supplying “material support” to terrorists in Iraq who in turn target and kill U.S. forces. President Bush promised to respond firmly if Iran extended its influence in Iraq and vowed to “seek out and destroy” weapons-supply networks used by Iranian agents. Some say the standoff with Iran reflects the White House’s desire to project a position of strength and send a message to Tehran not to meddle in Iraqi affairs. Others say the gestures aimed at Iran may portend a military clash ahead.
What is Iran’s involvement in Iraq?
Enormous controversy swirls around this issue, and much of the evidence the United States cites as proof of Iranian involvement remains secret and in some cases is disputed by the Iraqi government, too. This has created an uncomfortable analogy to the period before the Iraq invasion, when secret intelligence ultimately discredited pushed the United States toward war.
Nonetheless, the United States alleges Iran is involved in Iraq on a number of fronts:
- Security. The Qods Force, a special operations wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, is accused by U.S. officials of furnishing militias (USA Today) with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or roadside car bombs, and other weapons there is evidence of Iranians supplying militias with rocket-propelled grenades, Katyusha rockets, and roadside bombs. Specifically, it supports, trains, and finances militias like the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of one of Iraq’s most religious Shiite parties whose base is in southern Iraq.
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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.
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