Petraeus repeats Iran allegations

America’s senior commander in Iraq has reiterated the Pentagon’s belief that Iran is responsible for encouraging bloodshed in its Middle Eastern neighbour.

General David Petraeus reportedly told journalists close to Iraq’s border with Iran that Tehran was actively supplying training and armaments for insurgents.

“They are responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed US soldiers,” Gen Petraeus said in comments reported by the Reuters news agency.

“There is no question about the connection between Iran and these components, the attacks that have killed our soldiers.”

Gen Petraeus, who last month testified to Congress that the US army was making progress in Iraq, also alleged that Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad was a member of the Revolutionary Guards’ secretive Quds organisation.

Tehran acknowledges the existence of the enigmatic force but rarely gives further details of its activities. It is thought that its members provide support to Islamic insurgents outside of Iran.

“The ambassador is a Quds force member,” Gen Petraeus said without elaborating further.

“Now [Hassan Kazemi-Qomi] has diplomatic immunity and therefore he is obviously not subject [to scrutiny].”

The US is currently leading UN security council attempts to dissuade Iran from continuing with its controversial nuclear activities.

Despite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisting that his country’s enrichment of uranium is entirely peaceful, American president George Bush has refused to categorically rule out military action.