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Blaming Iran give US a scapegoat for Iraq failures: BASIC

London, June 7, IRNA - Accusations made by US and UK authorities of alleged Iranian involvement in Iraq could be made for "more strategic motives," according to a new report by an independent transatlantic research organization.

"Iran may present a useful scapegoat to divert the blame for failures in Iraq away from the occupying powers," the report published by the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) suggested.

Because of the lack of supporting evidence, it further proposed that the recent allegations "must also be considered in the context of the current crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear program."

"If Tehran can be cast as a source of regional instability in the eyes of the international community, then the US administration's hand will be strengthened as it seeks support for stronger measures to oppose Iranian nuclear ambitions," the report said.

The report, authored by Jacob Halpin, former National Grassroots coordinator at the International Development Advocacy Organization Results, highlights serious disquiet that US accusations over Iranian involvement in Iraq are being made, without any evidence.

The allegations were not only "difficult to prove, but one of the reasons why Iran may be blamed as a convenient scapegoat, Halpin suggested was the rising death toll in Iraq, with the "number of attacks against coalition forces nearly doubled in 2006."

The report also said that the growing instability in Iraq was not in Iran's interests, but rather there was the "incentive" to avoid involving itself militarily in Iraq being a neighbouring country.

The weakness of the US case against Tehran was further underscored by the fact that the US administration delayed releasing its claimed "evidence" to back up allegations made by US President Bush in his State of the Union speech this year.

Even the claim about the supply of roadside bombs was found to be "not exclusive to Iran, but are in fact relatively common around the world."

This was even borne out by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitting that there was no evidence that Iran's government was directing the supply of weapons.

"It is inevitable that evidence presented by US and UK authorities will be treated with scepticism. Few are ready to accept a repeat of the intelligence debacle which contributed to the 2003 Iraq war," Halpin concluded.

... Payvand News - 6/8/07 ... --

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