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Iraq | International

US to target "anti-Iraq activity"
by BBC (reposted)
Thursday Jan 11th, 2007 9:10 AM
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned that the US will take action against countries destabilising Iraq.
Her statement comes hours after US forces stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil - prompting condemnation from Tehran.

In a major policy speech, President George W Bush said the US would take a tough stance towards Iran and Syria, whom he accused of destabilising Iraq.

Mr Bush also vowed to increase troop numbers in Iraq by more than 20,000.

Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, the chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he thought Mr Bush's strategy was a "tragic mistake".

Consulate raid

US troops raided the Iranian consulate in Irbil at about 0300 (0100 GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

Five US helicopters were used to drop troops on the roof of the consulate building, according to an Iranian website close to the revolutionary guards.

Vehicles cordoned off the access roads while troops broke down the front door, arrested five men inside and confiscated computers and documents, it said.

Iranian television has said they had been transferred to US central command in Baghdad.

Iran's foreign ministry condemned the attack, and summoned the ambassadors of Iraq and Switzerland which represents American interests in the Iranian capital to protest against it.

'Vital region'

Ms Rice was speaking alongside new Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace, to give details of the Bush administration's revamp of its Iraq policy.

The top US diplomat said Iran and Syria should "end their destabilising behaviour" in the region.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6252567.stm