Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari says in an interview with Radio Farda that he has not seen any evidence linking Iran to the Shiite insurgents in Najaf. He said comments by other Iraqi ministers about Iran’s interference in Iraq were based on circumstantial evidence. August 22, 2004 - Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari rejected recent comments made by Iraqi defense minister and other Iraqi officials linking Iran to Shiite insurgents loyal to militant cleric Moqta Sadr. He said in an interview with Radio Farda’s Middle East correspondent Peyman Pezhman that calling a country Iraq’s number one enemy closes all doors of resolving differences. “Comments made by some Iraqi ministers about Iran’s interference in Iraq were on the basis of circumstantial evidence,” Zebari says. In interviews with Arabic and Western media, Iraqi defense minister Hazim al-Shaalan accused the Islamic government of attempting to gain influence in Iraq’s national and local institutions, and providing funds and arms to Moqtada Sadr militia Mahdi army. “The problem is that our cabinet is still new and most of our colleagues have been in office only a short time. When you call a country Iraq’s number one enemy, then there would be no need for any other means to improve relations and have influence on their (Iranians’) policies,” he added. A delegation from Iraq will soon visit Tehran to demand official explanation about reports of interference, Zebari added. He said he is trying to gain access to the evidence other ministers say link Iran to insurgents. But he adds that he has not seen any evidence yet. On the Najaf crisis he says the Iraqi government realizes the need to resolve the conflict as fast as possible. If the government lets it prolong, the Najaf standoff can turn Iraqi public opinion against the new government, Zebari says, adding that the Iraqi government has pursued all possible peaceful means available to it to resolve the crisis peacefully, but none has worked.