White House Defends Arrest Of Iranians In Iraq
The White House defended its decision to arrest five Iranians in two raids in northern Iraq and said the U.S. has the authority to arrest them as they were a risk to the US forces in Iraq. The White House also added that Iran is aiding insurgency in Iraq. We are going to need to deal with what Iran is doing inside Iraq, said National Security adviser Stephen Hadley, in an interview. He added that if Iranians in Iraq "are doing things that are putting are people at risk, of course we have the authority to go after them and protect our people." We know also that Iran is supplying elements in Iraq that are attacking Iraqis and attacking our forces," Hadley said."What the president made very clear is these are activities that are going on in Iraq that are unacceptable. They put our people at risk. He said very clearly that we will take action against those. We will interdict their operations, we will disrupt their supply lines, we will disrupt these attacks." US troops had arrested Iranians in two raids in the Kurdish-controlled city of Irbil in northern Iraq last week, just hours before President Bush vowed in a nationally televised speech to clamp down on support that Iran and Syria allegedly are providing to militants in Iraq. The US military said that the five Iranians arrested in northern Iraq last week were connected to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents in Iraq. However, Iran's government denied allegations and said that the five arrested men should be released.