Yesterday NBC's Andrea Mitchell reported on the speculation by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace that Iran's military involvement in Iraq may be independent of the Teheran government. Now his Commander-in-Chief George Bush has picked up on that theme, naming the commando unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as an anti-US player at his news conference. CBS' Jim Axelrod cited the President's pledge that his troops will "fire on any Iranians found plotting in Iraq" while "not talking about attacking or invading Iran."
ABC's Brian Ross repeated the Pentagon's claim of "conclusive evidence" that 170 of the 3,000-or-so US military dead in Iraq were killed by Quds Force explosives. Ross called it a "group of secret agents and hitmen that answers only to the religious authority of the Iranian government." Thus Monday's insistence by secular President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Ross' colleague Diane Sawyer (subscription required) that he has no forces inside Iraq seems plausible. "It is possible that ministers in the Iranian government do not know what the Quds Force is doing," ABC's in-house consultant Richard Clarke explained.
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