A US miltary explosives expert displays explosives used by Iraqi militants [AFP]
Tensions are rising again between Washington and Tehran following fresh accusations that Iran is directly involved in training and funding militias in Iraq.

The US military has accused Iran's elite Quds force and Lebanon's Hezbollah of helping militants to carry out an attack in January this year in Karbala that killed five American soldiers.

This is the first time Hezbollah has been accused of having a direct role in Iraq.

US military spokesman Brigadere General Kevin J Bergner said Tehran is using Hezbollah as a "proxy" to arm Shia militants in Iraq.

Iran dismissed the accusations as ridiculous, claiming that the US is crafting artificial scenarios for political gains.

US-led forces arrested an Iranian-controlled Lebanese Hezbollah agent in Iraq AFP]
The accusations of Hezbollah's direct involvement in Iraq will no doubt create more complications to the already volatile political crisis in the Middle East. It would imply that Iran is fuelling violence in both Iraq and Lebanon to support Shia-backed militias in its neighbouring countries. 

Some critics charged that these recent accusations, coupled with pressure on Iran to stop its nuclear programme, could be part of a systematic US build-up for an attack on Iran.

How does the Shia-backed Iraqi government react to these fresh allegations against their Iranian Shia counterparts?

Will the bloodshed in Iraq get worse?

And what is the impact on the already dangerously strained Washington-Tehran relations?

Inside Iraq looks at these issues. 

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from Friday 06 July 2007

Watch Part One here:

Watch Part Two here:


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Source: Al Jazeera