US military officials have for the first time offered what they claimed was proof that Iran has been providing weapons and explosives to armed groups in Iraq, according to US media reports.
Briefing reporters on Sunday in Baghdad, US officials put on display rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells bearing what they said were serial numbers of Iranian manufacturing. Explosives canisters designed to piece armoured military vehicles were also shown.
US officials claimed that the specialised explosives first appeared in Iraq in 2004, and that a shipment of the canisters being smuggled from Iran was captured in 2005, the New York Times reported.
During the briefing, the US alleged that Iranian security forces were sending such arms into Iraq to target US and Iraqi government forces on order from the "highest levels" in Tehran, the Washington Post reported.
Reporters were admitted to the briefing on condition of anonymity for the US officials involved, and no photographs or recordings of any kind were allowed.
"Iran is a significant contributor to attacks on coalition forces," one US official said.