U.S. Says Iran Helps Crackdown in Syria

(Wall Street Journal) Adam Entous and Matthew Rosenberg - Iran is secretly helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad put down pro-democracy demonstrations, according to U.S. officials, who say Tehran is providing gear to suppress crowds and assistance blocking and monitoring protesters' use of the Internet, cellphones and text-messaging. U.S. officials believe Iran's recent support for Assad reflects Tehran's concerns about losing a critical regional ally and military partner against Israel. At the same time, communications intercepted by U.S. spy agencies show Tehran is actively exploring ways to aid Shiite hardliners in Bahrain and Yemen and destabilize longstanding U.S. allies there. The U.S. is also concerned large-scale solidarity protests could break out in Iraq, whose Shiite majority has close religious ties to Bahrain's Shiites. Last week, after talks in Riyadh, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. has "evidence" of Iranian interference in Bahrain and elsewhere.

2011-04-14 00:00:00

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