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Report: Iraqi opposition leader denies aid from Iran

Rumsfeld had warned Tehran against proxy war


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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- A senior member of an Iraqi opposition group based in Iran denied U.S. claims that his group's military wing operating in Iraq receives training in Iran, according to Iran's state-run news agency.

"All staff, weapons and entire training facilities of the Badr Corps are provided inside Iraq, and there is no link between them and the IRGC [Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]," Mohsen Hakim told Iran's IRIB news agency.

Hakim is head of the Supreme Assembly of Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SAIRI], IRIB reported.

On Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned Iran -- a longtime enemy of Iraq -- about the Badr Corps, proxy forces that he said were moving into Iraq, where the United States and coalition forces are waging a war to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime. (Map of region)

Rumsfeld said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard trains and equips the corps.

"We will hold the Iranian government responsible for their actions and will view Badr Corps activity inside Iraq as unhelpful," he said. "Armed Badr Corps members found in Iraq will have to be treated as combatants."

Any such "proxies" would be viewed as a "potential threat" to coalition forces, Rumsfeld said. (Full story)

The United States, Rumsfeld said, does not want any interference in the military conflict unfolding in Iraq.

"We don't want the conflict prolonged," he said. "And we don't want neighboring countries, or anyone else for that matter, to be in there assisting the Iraqi forces."

Hakim said the Badr Corps is made up entirely of Iraqi youth, and has been fighting the Iraqi regime for 20 years, IRIB reported.

Hakim added that his group does not need "permission" from the United States to lead a campaign against Saddam's regime, IRIB reported.

-- CNN.com producer Sean Loughlin contributed to this report.


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