Iran Focus: Iraqi police have arrested 200 Iranians and Afghans  who were fighting U.S. and Iraqi forces in Najaf, an Iraqi minister announced.
Provincial Affairs Minister Wa'il Abd al-Latif made the announcement to local journalists in Baghdad. Iran Focus

Baghdad, Aug 26 - Iraqi police have arrested 200 Iranians and Afghans who were fighting U.S. and Iraqi forces in Najaf, an Iraqi minister announced.

Provincial Affairs Minister Wa'il Abd al-Latif made the announcement to local journalists in Baghdad.

The arrests come in the wake of rising tensions between the two neighbors over Iran’s escalating interference in Iraq’s affairs. Dozens of Iranian agents have been arrested in different cities across Iraq in the past two weeks, according to Iraqi officials. Over 100 Iranian agents were arrested in the southern Iraqi town of Kut alone, while Iraqi National Guards seized two trucks filled with weapons on the Iran-Iraq border last week.

The Iraqi Ambassador to the US, Rend Al-Rahim, said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday, "We are concerned about Iranian official or non-official involvement. We are concerned with Iranian infiltration into Iraq, whether sanctioned or not.”

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Sunday that Iraq would soon send a delegation to Iran to discuss the reports and documents which Iraq has on Iran's interferences and would demand an official response.

Zebari also rejected Iran’s proposal to hold an international meeting on the situation in Najaf. He told reporters on Tuesday, "What goes on in Najaf is Iraq’s internal affair and will be resolved in the context of Iraq's national law and government. Therefore the Iraqi government does not agree with making this issue international."

Zebari said Iran's proposal amounted to interference in Iraq's internal affairs.

The Iraqi Defense Minister, Hazem Shaalan, accused Iran last month of being Iraq's "No. 1 enemy" and trying to "kill democracy" in Iraq by sending spies and weapons into the country.