Hey, just like the US and Canada...nothing to worry about here.
BAGHDAD, Jan. 28 — Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad outlined an ambitious plan on Sunday to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq — including an Iranian national bank branch in the heart of the capital — just as the Bush administration has been warning the Iranians to stop meddling in Iraqi affairs.
Iran’s plan, as outlined by the ambassador, carries the potential to bring Iran into further conflict here with the United States, which has detained a number of Iranian operatives in recent weeks and says it has proof of Iranian complicity in attacks on American and Iraqi forces.
The ambassador, Hassan Kazemi Qumi, said Iran was prepared to offer Iraq government forces training, equipment and advisers for what he called “the security fight.” In the economic area, Mr. Qumi said, Iran was ready to assume major responsibility for Iraq reconstruction, an area of failure on the part of the United States since American-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein nearly four years ago.
“We have experience of reconstruction after war,” Mr. Qumi said, referring to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. “We are ready to transfer this experience in terms of reconstruction to the Iraqis.”
Mr. Qumi also acknowledged, for the first time, that two Iranians seized and later released by American forces last month were security officials, as the United States had claimed. But he said that they were engaged in legitimate discussions with the Iraqi government and should not have been detained.
Mr. Qumi’s remarks, in a 90-minute interview over tea and large pistachio nuts at the Iranian Embassy here, amounted to the most authoritative and substantive response the Iranians have made yet to increasingly belligerent accusations by the Bush administration that Iran is acting against American interests in Iraq.
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