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U.S. State Department Official Tells VOA Militants' Weapons are from Iran


Live interview aired on Persian-language TV program 'Roundtable With You'

Washington, D.C., June 4, 2007 - In a live interview during the Voice of America's June 3 Persian-language Roundtable With You television program, U.S. State Department official James Jeffrey told Iranian viewers that Iran is providing munitions to militant groups inside of Iraq.

"We are sure that Iran is providing explosive charges, very sophisticated ones, modern weapons including rockets and mortars, and other munitions to various groups inside of Iraq and potentially inside Afghanistan as well…the facts are that these shipments are continuing," Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey, who is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, appeared on the nightly, hour-long VOA program to discuss current U.S-Iranian relations.

On the four Iranian-Americans currently being detained in Iran, Jeffrey stated "These people are not spies…this charge is absurd. It is deeply troubling."

"We're not out for a regime change. We're out for a change in regime behavior," Jeffrey said, adding that the U.S. is not supporting any particular organization. "How Iranians inside and outside of Iran organize to promote freedom, to promote their democratic and political views is an affair for the Iranian people."

Reacting to a clip of Iranian President Ahmadinejad aired on Roundtable With You, Jeffrey commented that he (Ahmadinejad) does not take seriously the international community's will to stop Iran's nuclear program, and "its willingness to take whatever steps are necessary to stop this program. I underline 'to stop this program' and I underline 'whatever steps are necessary'."

The Voice of America reaches millions of people daily with Persian-language programs on television, radio and the Internet. VOA produces five hours of Persian TV each day, with four hours simulcast on radio, and a one-hour morning radio show. More information and programming is available at www.VOAnews.com/persian.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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