Zarqawi hoped to widen Iran-US rift: Iraq | india | Hindustan Times
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Zarqawi hoped to widen Iran-US rift: Iraq

Al-Qaeda in Iraq planned to widen the rift with kidnappings and assassinations against US interests falsely attributed to Iran.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 13:55 IST

Al-Qaeda in Iraq planned to widen the rift between the United States and Iran with kidnappings and assassinations against US interests falsely attributed to Iran, the Iraqi government said on Thursday.

Citing documents found in the Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's bombed safe house following his death in a US air strike, the prime minister's office issued a statement outlining Zarqawi's "plan of death and destruction".

"It is not clear if America is truly an enemy of Iran because of the large support that Iran provided America in its wars against Afghanistan and Iraq," said the document.

"On that basis, it is vital to work towards inflating the danger of Iran to America and show America and the West in general the real danger presented by Iran," it added.

Earlier reports on the documents found at the safe house showed that Al-Qaeda was looking to stir up conflicts between the Shiites and US forces as well as between various Shiite leaders, but this is the first time there have been reports of contributing to the animosity between the US and Iran.

The documents suggesting fomenting discord between the nations by carrying out kidnappings and attacks on US targets in Iraq and publicly attributing them to the Iranians.

The group also planned to carry out terrorist attacks in the West and then leave evidence at the sites implicating the Iranians.

Zarqawi's organization was also going to spread information that Iran had weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical weapons.

Iran and the United States have had testy relations for decades, exacerbated in recent months over Iran's enrichment of uranium, which Iran says is for nuclear power, while the United States and other countries fear it could be used for bombs.

Iraqi Shiite leader Abdel Aziz Hakim called for direct talks between Iran and the United States over the situation in Iraq in April -- a decision to which Iran said it was amenable.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice authorised US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad to reach out to the Iranians, and up to late May US officials were saying that talks could go forward -- even though Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by then had said the talks would be of no use.

In an interview broadcast Wednesday US national Security Advisor Stephen Hadley cast doubt on such talks ever taking place.

"The Iranians have indicated they no longer have any interest in doing that," Hadley said, when asked in an interview with CNN if Khalilzad will be meeting with Iranian diplomats in Baghdad.