Cassey says Iran has bigger role in Iraq turmoil than thought before

iran iraq meddlingStop Fundamentalism, June 26 –Iran has stepped up its support for violent Shiite groups in Iraq and is providing the weapons and training so that they can attack U.S. troops, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said to The New York Times.

He said that the Iranian assistance had increased since January and that this had emerged as an important factor in weighing further reductions in U.S. forces in Iraq.

Casey’s comments were his most forceful and explicit criticism of Iran’s involvement in Iraq and they come at a sensitive time in U.S.-Iranian relations, The New York Times beleives.

U.S. officials have criticized Iran’s involvement in Iraq before. But Casey’s remarks were unusually specific. He said that the Iranian security forces were training Shiite groups with the approval of the authorities in Tehran.

"We are quite confident that the Iranians, through their covert special operations forces, are providing weapons, IED technology and training to Shia extremist groups in Iraq," Casey said. IED is the military’s acronym for improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs.