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UK drops allegations of Iran 'involvement' in Iraq bombings

London, Jan 3, IRNA-The UK government is reported to have dropped its allegations of Iranian 'involvement' in supplying Iraqi insurgency groups with bombs to attack British soldiers.

Military and diplomatic officials have stopped pointing the finger at Tehran after carrying out a thorough assessment of the latest intelligence, wrote the daily Times.

Officials were now 'merely saying that the new technology matched bomb-making expertise traditionally found in Syria and Lebanon', according to the daily's defense editor Michale Evans.

The withdrawal of the allegations comes after Prime Minister Tony Blair first confirmed that the UK was accusing Iran of involvement at a press conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani during his visit to London in October.

Blair said that there was no specific evidence and that 'cannot be sure of this at the present time' but that the 'particular nature of those devices leads us either to Iranian elements or to Hizbollah (in Lebanon)'.

The Foreign Office told IRNA Tuesday that it had no comment to make about the Times report and had 'nothing more to add' to what the prime minister had said.

The roadside explosive devices were at the center of an infra-red triggering system that were said to have killed ten British soldiers since the beginning of May.

The accusations led to a coinciding wave of front-page reports in October directly blaming Iran for the deaths and even direct involvement in the Iraqi insurgency.

But Evans, in his report hidden away on the inside pages of the Times on Monday, said that officials 'no longer say that there is any intelligence linking the bombs to Tehran'.

Subsequent to the allegations, IRNA learned from a party of British journalists visiting Basra, which included Evans, that commanders on the ground dismissed the allegations against Iran amid suggestions that they had been politically motivated.

'There is not firm evidence that the Iranian government is involved' in supplying weaponry, a Defense Ministry source told Ammar al-Jundi, diplomatic correspondent of the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper immediately following the accusation.

Jundi spent four days this week traveling in Basra and southern Iraq with other journalists, who were accompanied by Chief-of-Staff General Sir Michael Jackson, Britain's most senior army officer.

... Payvand News - 1/4/06 ... --

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