USA: President Bush says U.S. troops may protect themselves from Iranians launching attacks inside Iraq.Record ID: 313835
- Title: USA: President Bush says U.S. troops may protect themselves from Iranians launching attacks inside Iraq.
- Date: 27th January 2007
- Summary: FRONT PAGE OF FRIDAY'S WASHINGTON POST NEWSPAPER WITH HEADLINE READING "TROOPS AUTHORISED TO KILL IRANIAN OPERATIVES IN IRAQ"
- Reuters ID: LVA1AJOQ3FYDA0LD2GTS8GQ1DSIM
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:00:16
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: U.S. President George W. Bush said that U.S. forces in Iraq have the authority to protect themselves against Iranians attempting to launch attacks. Bush was responding to a question on a report in the Washington Post saying the President had authorised the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian agents in Iraq. President George W. Bush said on Friday (January 26) U.S. forces in Iraq have the authority to protect themselves against Iranians attempting to launch attacks inside Iraq.
"I made it very clear, as has the secretary, that our policy is going to be to protect our troops in Iraq. It makes sense that if somebody is trying to harm our troops or stop us from achieving our goals or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them. It's an obligation we all have to protect our folks and achieve our goals. Now some are trying to say that because we are enforcing, helping ourselves in Iraq, by stopping outside influence from killing our soldiers, or hurting Iraqi people, that we want to expand this beyond the borders. That's a presumption that simply is not accurate. We believe that we can solve our problems with Iran diplomatically - and are working to do that. As a matter of fact, we are making pretty good progress on that front. As you know, the Iranians, for example, we think they want to have a nuclear weapon. And we've convinced other nations to join us to send a clear message to the United Nations that that's unacceptable behaviour. Yeah, we're going to continue to protect ourselves in Iraq and, at the same time, work to solve our problems with Iran diplomatically. I believe we can succeed. The choice is the Iranian government's choice."
Bush spoke after talks with Army Gen. David Petraeus, just confirmed by the U.S. Senate to take command of the Iraq war.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates took the same position later in the day.
"What I will say is what the president said this morning. And that is that our forces are authorised to go after those who are trying to kill them. And we are trying to uproot these networks that are planting IEDs that are causing 70 per cent of our casualties. And if you are in Iraq and trying to kill our troops, then you should consider yourself a target."
The State Department said it would publish evidence that Iranian agents are involved in bomb attacks inside Iraq.
"There is apparently a challenge put out there, I believe from the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad, saying 'show us the evidence, show us the evidence that Iranian agents are engaged in these activities.' And Ambassador Khalilzad, rightly so, said 'we will present that evidence, we will make it public.' Now, where we are in the process is, taking a look at the mountain of evidence that we do have, and seeing what it is we can cull from that in a declassified form so that we can very clearly connect the dots between these EFD [explosive foreign devices] networks and Iranian influence over there."
Defense analyst P.J. Crowley agreed that U.S. forces in Iraq have a right to self-defence. But he said the United States should hold talks with Iran to try and resolve the difficulties between the two countries.
"To the extent that we have concerns about what Iran is doing in Iraq, and those Iranian actions potentially threatened U.S. forces, it's all the more reason why we, the United States, should have a direct conversation with Iran - clarify what their agents are doing in the country and perhaps try to work together to try to achieve a stable situation in Iraq."
The Washington Post newspaper reported on Friday that Bush has authorised the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian agents active in attacking U.S. soldiers inside Iraq.
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