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'US running covert operations inside Iran'

india Updated: Jun 30, 2008 12:17 IST
PTI
United States

The United States has intensified its covert operations against Iran with the Congress last year approving USD 400 million to carry out all sorts of activities inside the Islamic republic aimed at destabilising Tehran's regime, a media report has claimed.

The report by Seymour Hersh titled "Preparing the Battlefield" in the New Yorker magazine citing former military, intelligence and congressional sources claimed that the White House programme is so confidential that even the oversight process has lost track of the goings.

Iran, currently in a standoff with the West which fears former's controversial nuclear programme is cover for a drive to build an atomic weapon, has warned against any attack on its territory saying Tehran's response will be "painful".

The covert activities inside Iran has the quiet backing of the Democrats in Congress who wave basically funnelled some USD 400 millions for the programme, it said.

Hersh, who was interviewed on CNN's Late Edition, argued that for an administration that talks about diplomacy with respect to Iran and of a 'carrot and stick' policy, Bush has essentially pushed only the stick and has embarked on a programme that very few within the administration, the Congress and even hands-on military commanders are aware of.

"... No matter what we say about diplomacy, you know, carrot and stick, the stick is working pretty hard and the stick is working overtime. This president did escalate the covert war, the secret war inside Iran. We've been doing stuff inside Iran since '05 pretty much, pretty heavily looking at the nuclear facilities, collecting intelligence, trying to undermine the regime, et cetera, et cetera," Hersh said.