The top U.S. military commander in Iraq has accused Iran of increasing its involvement in the Shi'ite insurgency in Iraq.
During a briefing at the Pentagon Thursday, General George Casey said he had no evidence Iranians were actually in Iraq. He said, however, that Tehran uses surrogates to conduct terrorist operations in Iraq - both against American troops as well as the Iraqi people.
General Casey also indicated he will not be able to recommend further reductions in U.S. forces in Iraq until he has had a chance to work more with Iraq's new leaders.
Speaking at the same briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the recent formation of the new Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was an encouraging sign. He said ultimately America will be a safer place because the Iraqi government is fighting terrorists, not funding them.
General Casey said there were also some indications that Iraqi insurgents were receiving training from sympathizers in Lebanon.
The general added that he was encouraged Sunni insurgents were making overtures to the new government. He did not give details of what kind of overtures had been made.