Sunday, November 14, 2004

NEWS.com.au | Report: Iran has spies, fighters in Iraq (November 15, 2004)

NEWS.com.au | Report: Iran has spies, fighters in Iraq (November 15, 2004): "Report: Iran has spies, fighters in Iraq
From correspondents in Washington
November 15, 2004

IRAN has spies, weapons and attackers in Iraq, and may have a US$500 ($650) bounty on the head of each US soldier there, according to a report based on intelligence documents published by a US news magazine.

"Iran ... poses the greatest long-term threat to US efforts in Iraq," wrote an analyst with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in December, 2003, according to a report published in the Monday edition of US News and World Report.

"Iranian intelligence agents are conducting operations in every major city with a significant Shia (Muslim) population," a US Army's V Corps analyst wrote in a 2003 document examined by the news weekly.

"The counterintelligence threat from Iran is assessed to be high, as locally employed people, former military officers, politicians, and young men are recruited, hired, and trained by Iranian intelligence to collect (intelligence) on coalition forces," the V Corps analyst wrote.

The magazine said "raw" intelligence indicated that Iran may have a bounty on each US soldier, and the repeated interception of such information, from various sources, led analysts to believe it may be true.

US News also reported that Iran appeared to be behind a plan to kill Paul Bremer, then the top US administrator in Iraq, as a grim two-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The plan was well developed, according to intelligence documents, and detailed down to the make of taxi, a Toyota Corona, to be used in a bombing and the name of a planner, Himin Bani Shari, a top member of Ansar Al-Islam and known to associate with Iranian spies, the magazine said.

An assessment by the US Army's V Corps, which then directed all Army activity in Iraq, said: "Iranian intelligence continues to prod and facilitate the infiltration of Iraq with their subversive elements while providing them support once they are in country," according to the magazine."