U.S. Ambassador: Iran’s Actions Must Match Words
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 29, 2007 Iranian delegates advocated a peaceful and secure Iraq during a weekend meeting, but Iran’s actions on the ground aren’t in synch with its stated policies and principles, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told reporters yesterday.
Crocker said Iraq, Iran and the United States all expressed a common goal for Iraq during yesterday’s meeting in Baghdad, hosted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
“There was pretty good congruence right down the line -- support for a secure, stable, democratic, federal Iraq, in control of its own security (and) at peace with its neighbors,” Crocker said.
All three delegations also expressed support for Maliki and his government, he said.
But Crocker said Iran’s actions -- the fact that it supports anti-Iraqi militias and insurgents and provides them arms and explosives -- are “at cross-purposes” with its words. He said the United States has solid evidence linking these Iranian-supplied weapons to attacks that have killed Iraqi and coalition troops, as well as innocent Iraqi civilians.
Crocker said the Iranians didn’t respond directly to these challenges, instead reiterating their broad statement of support for the Iraqi government. They also called for a “trilateral mechanism” for the three countries to work through to coordinate on security matters.
While not dismissing the trilateral concept outright, Crocker said he made it clear that yesterday’s meeting was aimed at concrete concerns and actions, not more meetings.
“We … made it clear from the American point of view that this is about actions, not just principles, and I laid out before the Iranians a number of our direct specific concerns about their behavior in Iraq,” Crocker said. “What we need to see is Iranian actions on the ground come into harmony with their stated principles.”
During the talks, Iranian officials called the coalition an occupying force in Iraq and said it has not done enough to train and equip Iraqi security forces.
“We, of course, responded on both points, making clear that the coalition forces are here at the Iraqi government’s invitation and under Security Council authorities, and that we have put literally billions of dollars into training and equipping an increasingly capable set of Iraqi security forces,” Crocker said.
Crocker described the four-hour meeting as “business-like.”