Michael Ware


TSR: "You'll never see their fingerprints on anything."

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Length: 3:52

WOLF BLITZER: Top U.S. officials, by the way, named an Iranian brigadier general being held by American troops in Iraq. He's identified as Mohsen Chirazi, who we reported weeks ago was arrested back in December. He's described as the third ranking officer in the Quds force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. That force, by the way, is accused of directing attacks on U.S. troops and supplying those deadly armor-piercing explosives.

But could Iran now be backing off from such activities? Joining us now from Baghdad, our correspondent, Michael Ware. Michael, yesterday I interviewed the Iraqi national security adviser, Mowaffak Al-Rubaie. He startled me. He surprised me with these words.

I want to play a little clip of what he said that the Iranians now are not doing in Iraq.

Listen to this.


MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE, IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Very simply, the Iranians have changed their position and we have some evidence that they have stopped supplying arms or creating any of these charge shaped mines in the streets of Baghdad.


BLITZER: And he went on to say that the Iranians now want the U.S. military operation, together with the Iraqi military, to succeed in bringing stability to the Baghdad area.

Have you seen evidence that backs this up?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you're never going to see evidence that backs this up one way or the other because the way these Iranian forces work, these Quds force officers, these are some of the best covert operators in the world.

You'll never see them with their fingerprints on anything, whether they're active or chosen to go inactive.

Now, the fascinating thing here is Dr. Rubaie. I know Dr. Rubaie. If you want to talk about a man between a rock and a hard place, it's the national security adviser of Iraq. He has to serve two masters, keeping two powerful forces at bay, both Washington and Tehran.

This is a man who has to live with both of these power blocs.

Dr. Rubaie comes from the Al-Dawa Party. It's got a long association not just with Iran, but with its intelligence agencies. So he's certainly wired into what they're doing.

However, listen to what he said. There's two things notable about it. One, it's an implicit concession that, yes, the Iranians have been supplying the EFPs that the U.S. claims have been killing British troops. This is the Iraqi government confirming the Bush administration's claims.

He's now saying, however, that they've stopped doing this.

That does not change the fact it's in Iran's national interests to maintain a presence here. If that presence is changing, we don't know. And I suggest neither does Dr. Rubaie.

BLITZER: You said that they were killing these British troops. I think you meant American troops, right?

WARE: Both, actually, Wolf. We've seen quite a number of Brits killed by these EFPs and we've seen Americans killed by these EFP explosive devices that punch through heavy battle armor like a fist through a wall.

More than 170 British and Americans have died as a result of these weapons.

Don't forget, it was the Brits who first encountered them back in May 2004. That's where this technology came in, through the Iranian strongholds in the south. It then migrated north and started hitting U.S. troops in Baghdad through the work of an Iranian-backed network run by a man called Abu Mustafa Al-Shaebani (ph), the former intelligence chief of one of the political factions that is now in government here in Iraq -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Ware reporting for us in Baghdad.

Michael, thanks.

WARE: My pleasure, Wolf.