NEWS: Petraeus pumps up the Iran-threat rhetoric

U.S. calls Iranian official part of elite force

On several occasions American military commanders have said the elite Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran was responsible for supplying anti-American militia forces here with particularly lethal bombs that have been used to kill American troops. The Bush administration has been considering whether to classify the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist group.

But Sunday appeared to be the first instance in which the Americans had publicly asserted that Iran’s top diplomat in Iraq was himself a member of the Revolutionary Guard.

The accusation was made by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American military commander, who made the remarks to CNN while he was traveling with a small group of reporters to a military base on the Iranian border. He said, “We have absolute assurance” that a number of Iranians detained by the Americans in Iraq were members of the Quds Force.

“The Quds Force controls the policy for Iraq; there should be no confusion about that either,” General Petraeus said. “The ambassador is a Quds Force member. Now he has diplomatic immunity and therefore he is obviously not subject — and he is acting as a diplomat.”

General Petraeus did not provide details on how he knew that the ambassador, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, who has held talks with the American ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, belonged to the Quds Force. Iranian Embassy officials could not be reached Sunday night to comment on the general’s assertions. [complete article]

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