Iran denies Chalabi intelligence

Iran has denied a US newspaper report that it received intelligence damaging to the United States from Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi.

    Chalabi's contacts with Iran are now under FBI scrutiny

    "All of this is false," the Islamic republic's top national

    security official Hassan Rowhani said. "We have no

    relations in regard to intelligence."

    The New York Times said on Wednesday that Chalabi, who has fallen out of favour with Washington,


    tipped off an Iranian intelligence official that Washington had

    broken Iran's secret communications code.

    The alleged betrayal contributed to the US government's decision

    to break with Chalabi, the one-time darling of Washington's

    neo-conservatives whose home in Baghdad was raided by Iraqi police

    and the US military last month.

    According to US officials, six weeks ago Chalabi told

    Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and

    Security that Washington was reading the Iranian intelligence

    service's communications traffic.

    Cracking the code

    US intelligence was tipped off to Chalabi's alleged betrayal

    when it read a cable the Baghdad station chief sent to his superiors

    in Iran detailing his conversation with Chalabi.

    "All of this is false.

    We have no

    relations in regard to intelligence"

    Hassan Rowhani,
    Iran national security official

    In the cable, the Iranian official said Chalabi had told him

    that a drunk American had told him the US had broken the Iranian


    But Rowhani laughed off the report.

    "Iraq is our neighbour, and not overseas. We can go and get

    cables ourselves, not send a telex," he asserted.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an espionage

    investigation into Chalabi's alleged contacts with Iran and to

    determine who revealed the Iranian code information to him, the

    daily said.

    The probe, US officials told The New York Times, is focusing on

    a very small number of people who were close to Chalabi and had

    access to information about the Iranian code.



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