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Iraq said on Sunday it has no evidence that Iran was supplying militias engaged in fierce street fighting with security forces in Baghdad.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no “hard evidence” of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country.
Asked about reports that weapons captured from Shiite fighters bore 2008 markings suggesting Iranian involvement, Dabbagh said: “We don’t have that kind of evidence…"
Iraq was removed from the list in 1982 to make it eligible for U.S. military technology while it was fighting Iran in the Iran-Iraq War; it was put back on in 1990 following its invasion of Kuwait.
What Lieutenant-General Raymond Odierno framed in terms of an Iranian policy, however, can be explained much more simply by the fact that the US military mounted more operations on Muqtada's Mahdi Army during the spring and summer.
In short, the rise in deaths of US troops in Baghdad last month reflected the increased pace of US operations against the Mahdi Army and the Mahdi Army's military response.
Odierno's reference to "sending more weapons in" continued the practice of the US administration to claim that Iranian officials actually ship weapons to Shi'ite militias in Iraq, despite the fact that no evidence of such a role has been found after four years of trying.
Odierno told the New York Times that explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) accounted for one-third of combat deaths suffered by "US-led forces" - including Iraqi and British forces - last month. But he said nothing about the proportion of total US troops killed or wounded by them.