The US military in Iraq says Iran continues to aid militants, but Iraqis now say that they want their own evidence.
ISTANBUL, Turkey; and BAGHDAD
Iran says it will back Iraq in its ongoing fight against its Shiite militias. That pledge came after a delegation from Iraq's ruling Shiite bloc pressed its neighbor on what it called fresh "evidence" it was arming and training militants.
The five-member group sent by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki returned to Baghdad Saturday, saying it had received a "positive" response after confronting officials with US and Iraqi intelligence on Iranian weapons caches that US officials say included weaponry manufactured in 2008.
"The delegation saw a positive stance from the brothers in Iran to support the government's efforts in extending the sovereignty of the state and to fight outlaws," Iraq's deputy parliament speaker Khalid al-Attiya, who visited Iran, said Saturday.
But the next day, the Iraqi government appeared to back away from its claims of Iranian meddling inside Iraq, highlighting the complexity and confusion over Iran's exact role in the Iraq war, its relationship with Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, and the dilemma facing Mr. Maliki as his two chief allies – Washington and Tehran – engage in an ever-increasing war of words.
"We do not want to start a conflict with Iran," says Iraqi spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh. "We need our own government documentation of this interference, not from the Americans, not from the media."
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