London, Oct 6, IRNA-Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Thursday that Iranian authorities have rejected British allegations of having any links with explosive devices blamed for the recent killing of UK troops.
"I personally talked to some Iranian brothers, they denied it," Talabani said at a joint press conference with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.
"They say we are not doing anything against Iraqi people or against multinational forces because we want to see Iraq stable and we are not ready to bring our difference with the United States inside Iraq," he said.
The Iraqi president said that he was "very concerned" about the discovery of the devices and would be launching an "investigation into terrorist act against British forces in the south."
At the press conference, Blair confirmed reports that Britain was pointing Iranian ties to explosives used in Iraq, even though he acknowledged there was no evidence to substantiate the link.
"What is clear is that there have been new explosive devices used not just against British forces but elsewhere in Iraq. The particular nature of those devices leads us either to Iranian elements or to Hizbollah (in Lebanon)," he said.
The British premier confirmed that Iran had denied any involvement and also said that Britain "cannot be sure of this at the present time."
His warning came after a British diplomat, believed to be of ambassadorial rank, gave an off-the-record press briefing after meeting Blair on Wednesday in which he indirectly accused Iran of helping kill eight British soldiers in the past three months.
The prime minister indicated that he did not plan to raise the issue, insisting that there had been "nothing premeditated" about making the accusation and wanted to dispose of any "conspiracy theory."
But like the unnamed UK official, he made claims that that Iranian interference in Iraq could be response to British pressure over its nuclear program.
"There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq. Neither will we be subject to any intimidation in raising the necessary and right issues to do with the nuclear weapons obligations of Iran," Blair warned.
Analysts have questioned the timing of the allegations, coinciding with Talebani's first visit to London and coming at a time of growing fears of civil war in Iraq, with some suggesting Iran could be being set up as a possible 'scapegoat.'
About any links with the nuclear dispute, it is also believed that it could instead be used by the British to try to discredit Iran in an attempt to build up an international consensus to have Tehran's case referred to the UN Security Council.
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