Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that new explosive devices used against coalition forces in Iraq “lead us either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah.”
“We cannot be sure,” Blair told a news conference, but “there are certain pieces of information that lead us back to Iran.”
On Wednesday, Press Association reported that a senior government official said Britain believed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was supplying explosives technology to insurgents in Iraq that was being used against British soldiers there.
Tehran rejected the allegation.
“What is clear is that there have been new explosive devices used, not just against British troops but elsewhere in Iraq,” Blair said during a news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
“The particular nature of those devices lead us either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah, because they are similar to the devices used by Hezbollah.
“However, we cannot be sure of this at the present time.”
Technology used to kill U.K. soldiers?
A senior British official first made the accusation against Iran at a Wednesday briefing, saying Britain believed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard supplied that technology used to kill eight British soldiers in incidents over the summer.
The official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said there was evidence that Iran was in contact with Sunni Muslim insurgent groups battling coalition troops in Iraq. He did not specify whether the alleged Iranian technology also was responsible for American soldiers’ deaths, according to Press Association.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the accusations, with a spokesman saying Britain should provide evidence of its claims, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
On Thursday, Blair said: “But I want to make it very, very clear — and this been made clear to the Iranian government and I make it clear again — the British forces are in Iraq under a United Nations mandate ...
“There is no justification for Iran or any other country to interfere with Iraq.”