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Iraq Transition

Iran calls Iraq arms charges 'all lies'

Story Highlights

Iranian official denies Iranian role in Iraq bombings
• Official clarifies that coalition troops, not just U.S., killed by bombs
• U.S. shows evidence it says proves Iran behind deadly bombings
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Calling them "all lies," an Iranian Embassy official Monday denied U.S. allegations that an elite Iranian force under the command of Iran's supreme leader is behind bombings that have killed coalition forces in Iraq.

"We dismissed all the American allegations. It's all lies, and it's not true at all," the official told CNN. "The American administration has made many mistakes in Iraq, and now they want to use Iran as a scapegoat."

The response from the Iranian Embassy came as a U.S. military spokesman said one of its generals "misspoke" Sunday when he said the bombings had killed at least 170 U.S. forces in Iraq, changing the figure to include all forces in the coalition.

The spokesman did not give precise breakdown on the coalition fatalities or how the military came up with the overall figure.

CNN's Michael Ware attended a Sunday briefing by a senior defense official, a senior defense analyst and an explosives expert, all of whom asked to remain unnamed, in which they said only U.S. forces died in the bombings.

During the briefing, the officials focused on EFPs, explosively formed penetrators, as evidence that Iran is involved in arming Shiite groups in Iraq. General contentions of Iranian involvement in Iraq have been made in the past year by U.S. officials, but there haven't been many details issued.

The officials focused on EFPs, or explosively formed penetrators, as evidence that Iran is involved in arming Iraqi insurgents. EFPs can punch through heavily armored vehicles.(Watch U.S. officials outline their case against Iran Video)

The U.S. military officials said EFPs are manufactured in such a specific way that they can be traced to Iran.

Also, the U.S. military says 81 mm mortar shells used in deadly attacks in Iraq can also be directly traced to Iran.

The U.S. military said the munitions are being provided to Shiite groups in Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds force, which answers directly to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The military officials said a senior operations officer for the Quds force was among several Iranian officers arrested in Irbil, Iraq, in the past few weeks.

According to the U.S. military, other Iranian officers have provided information that Iran also is arming a prominent Iraqi political organization.

The officers were detained during a December raid on the Baghdad compound of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a powerful Shiite political group with close ties to Iran.

The raid also netted documents that confirmed the arms sale, the U.S. military said.

Officials with the political organization said the munitions were used for security purposes. However, the U.S. military officials disputed that, saying the kind of mortars and sniper rifles provided are not used for self-defense.

Iranian U.N. ambassador claims 'fabricated evidence'

In an interview Friday with National Public Radio, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Javad Zarif said Iran has not provided weapons to Iraqi insurgents and does not want to do so.

"Iran has no interest in providing weapons to any insurgent groups in Iraq. But the problem is that the United States has decided on a policy and is trying to find or fabricate evidence if it cannot find one -- and I believe it hasn't been able to find an evidence -- in order to substantiate and corroborate that policy," he said.

"And that seems to be at the bottom of this problem, and it's an alarming problem because if you're looking for a crisis, then you're certainly not looking for solutions."

Some Iraq war critics are skeptical about the U.S. military's contention that Iran -- which has good diplomatic relations with Iraq -- is trying to foment warfare there.

They liken the Bush administration's highlighting of Iranian involvement in Iraq to the administration's run-up to the war in Iraq, contending officials are attempting a find a reason to invade Iran. The administration denies this.

Before the Iraq war, the administration warned that Saddam Hussein's regime harbored weapons of mass destruction and hinted of an operational link between al Qaeda terrorists and Iraq -- information never proven.

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An Iraqi army soldier mans a vehicle checkpoint in Baghdad Sunday. New security operations are planned this week.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
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