In the fourth such accusation in the past month, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell today accused the Iranian government of meddling “in its most destructive, devious and deadly ways,” and trying to “undermine” and “derail” the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Iraq.
Last week, US commander General Ray Odierno accused Iran of bribing Iraqi officials “to attempt to influence the outcome of the potential vote.” Gen. Odierno acknowledged having no actually proof of the accusation, and Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabagh condemned the accusation as “inappropriate”. Morrell addressed this incident, insisting that the General “never suggested that Iraqis, Iraqi politicians, would ever take such bribes,” adding that “there is nothing too low” for the Iranian to try.
Prior to that, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker twice blamed Iran for the delays to ratifying the SOFA. He claimed in his second interview that the Iranian government’s goal was to keep Iraq “off-balance.”
Iraq’s government is demanding several amendments to the most recent draft of the SOFA, but the Bush Administration is resistant to continue negotiations and is pressuring the Iraqi government to accept the deal as presently specified. The Iraqi government has warned that the recent warnings by US officials are “unwelcome” and “inappropriate.”