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Iranís Involvement in Iraq?

April 9, 2004

 

 

Linda Vester: We want to talk to somebody who has been really helpful to us about the conflict in Iraq. There has been a lot of discussion about how Iran may be involved in the current violence. A number of people have been suggesting that it is deeply involved and very much to blame.

 

 

 

 

One of them is Alireza Jafarzadeh, he is a Fox News foreign affairs analyst. He is the president of Strategic Policy Consulting. Welcome, Alireza.

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you very much Linda.

 

Linda Vester: Youíve been doing a lot of fact finding. Give me the strongest evidence you have that Iran may be deeply involved?

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Linda as you know, Iíve been talking about this for more than a year and this is not something that has developed overnight. Iran has been spending millions of dollars in funding groups there. Actually Italian foreign intelligence reported just yesterday to their own parliament that as much as 70 million dollars a month is being spent by Iran for supporting the groups there. Theyíve also sent various kinds of weaponry, they have built their own groups in Iraq, particularly in the southern part of Iraq, like Hezbollah, 15th Shaban group and seyyed ol- Shohada group. They have been providing military training in Iran for these groups. They go freely to the border area where they get the training and they come back. They have also sent thousands of clerics who were studying in theological schools in Iran for nearly 20 years who are all back in the mosques fomenting anti-Americanism and trying to establish an Islamic Republic there. They are also trying to influence theological schools there by money, intimidation, and sending their own clerics. A number of more moderate clerics and Muslims have been either intimidated or actually been killed by their agents.

 

 

 

 

Linda Vester: The assessment is that Iran or at least parties in Iran do not want Iraq to succeed as a democracy? But I also want to ask you about some other information that has come in about Iran reportedly setting up as many as 18 centers for spying around the country of Iraq and cloaking them as kind of charities. Is that true?

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: It certainly is true. I donít know about the numbers, but I have gotten information about that from my own sources that say Iran has been spending money, and they are building front organizations, front groups, under the name of charities. They have been running them all over Iraq even in Baghdad. There are also safe houses they have. Iranian intelligence agents have recently been spotted in Baghdad offering as much as 25 thousand dollars in exchange for information. They operate under the cover of local businesses. So they are clearly all over Iraq.

 

Linda Lester: If all this is true, itís very disturbing. Alireza Jafarzadeh, thank you very much.

 

Alireza Jafarzadeh: Thank you.

 

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