The leader of an al-Qaeda umbrella group in Iraq, who was thought to have beeen killed by US forces, has threatened to wage war against Iran unless it stops supporting Shias in Iraq within two months.
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State in Iraq, said his Sunni fighters have been preparing to wage a battle against Shia-dominated Iran.
Al-Baghdadi made the announcement in an audiotape that was posted on a web site commonly used by armed groups.
The 50-minute audiotape, which was released on Sunday, could not be independently verified.
US forces had earlier claimed to have killed al-Baghdadi.
Major General William Caldwell, the commander of the multinational force in Iraq, told a press conference in Baghdad that US forces had killed Muharib Abdulatif al-Juburi on May 1.
Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf, operations director at the Iraqi interior minister, told state television that al-Juburi was also known as Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
"We are giving the Persians, and especially the rulers of Iran, a two-month period to end all kinds of support for the Iraqi Shia government and to stop direct and indirect intervention ... otherwise a severe war is waiting for you," al-Baghdadi said.
Iraq's Shia-led government is backed by the US but closely allied to Iran.
The United States accuses Iran of arming and financing Shia militias in Iraq, charges Tehran denies.
In the recording, al-Baghdadi also gave Sunnis and Arab countries doing business in Iran or with Iranians a two-month deadline to cease their ties.
"We advise and warn every Sunni businessman inside Iran or in Arab countries especially in the Gulf not to take partnership with any Shia Iranian businessman, this is part of the two-month period," he said.
Al-Baghdadi said his group was responsible for two suicide truck bomb attacks in May in Iraq's northern Kurdish region. He said the attacks in Irbil and Makhmur showed the "Islamic jihad" was progressing in the Kurdish areas.