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UK's Straw denies accusing Iran of involvement in Iraq bombings

London, Jan 10, IRNA-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Tuesday denied that he had accused Iran directly of involvement in supplying the Iraqi insurgency with bombs to attack British soldiers.

"I did not say there was conclusive evidence of Iran's involvement," Straw said in response to reports that London had withdrawn allegations against Tehran after carrying out a thorough assessment of the latest intelligence.

But as there was a 'fingerprint' that the sophisticated devices used were of the same type used by Hizbollah in Lebanon and that the possible connection was because of Iranian links with the organization, he claimed in response to a question from IRNA.

The foreign secretary was speaking with London-based Middle East journalists at a press conference following his visit to Lebanon and Iraq over the weekend.

The roadside explosive devices were at the center of allegations of an infra-red triggering system that were said to have killed ten British soldiers since the beginning of May 2005.

Last week the Foreign Office in London said that it had 'nothing more to add' to earlier comments following the report that the UK was dropping its allegations against Iran.

But following a further report in the Independent, the Foreign Office said that the report was 'simply wrong', saying that there had been 'no u-turn'.

The reports led to British government being accused by MPs and the families of soldiers killed in Iraq of politicizing allegations against Iran similar to the false intelligence used to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regimes.

"Is this intelligence or is it propaganda?" former Labor defense minister, Peter Kilfoyle, asked, questioning whether Prime Minister Tony Blair had again being following US President George W Bush's anti-Iran policy.

"This is what happened in Iraq. I have a deep, abiding mistrust of what is put out by the Government and a deep, abiding mistrust of what is put out by the intelligence services," Kilfoyle said.

Government officials now admit that there is no evidence, or even reliable intelligence, connecting the Iranian government to the infra-red triggered bombs which are said to have killed 10 British soldiers in the past eight months.

But families of the soldiers killed said they were seeking an explanation from the Government over its U-turn, which reportedly has led to a major row with the US still accusing Iran of playing a role in fomenting violence in Iraq.

"I had the impression from the moment they made that statement that it was purely bully-boy tactics against Iran," said Sue Smith, whose son was killed along with two other UK soldiers when their patrol was hit at al-Amarah, north of Basra, last July.

... Payvand News - 1/10/06 ... --

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