Bachmann: Iran has plan to turn part of Iraq into terrorist havenby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann appeared to back away Friday from comments about Iran she made to a St. Cloud Times reporter. In an interview, Bachmann said she knew of an agreement allowing Iran to carve out a portion of Iraq which would serve as a terrorist haven.
St. Cloud, Minn. — Bachmann made her comments in an interview earlier this month with Lawrence Schumacher, a reporter with the St. Cloud Times. The 23-minute interview, which was distributed as a podcast on the paper's Web site, focused on a variety of issues including Bachmann's first month in Congress, federal legislation and the war in Iraq.
Bachmann said Iran was causing much of the unrest in Iraq and wants to control part of the country. She said Iran is making trouble in Baghdad in order to force the U.S. to pull out of Iraq.
"You know why? Because they already decided that they are going to partition Iraq," Bachmann said.
Bachmann said there was a name already chosen for that part of the region, but she couldn't recall it exactly. Bachmann said Iran would use that territory as a training ground for terrorists.
"There is already agreement made," said Bachmann. "They are going to get half of Iraq, and that is going to be a terrorist safe haven zone where they can go ahead and bring about more attacks in the Middle East, and come against the United States."
Bachmann did not say how she knew of the Iranian plan to partition Iraq.
Bachmann's spokeswoman declined an interview request Friday. But her office released a three-paragraph statement, in which Bachmann said she was sorry if her comments have been misconstrued. The statement did not specify which part of her comments were misconstrued.
"If Iran is allowed to freely operate in Iraq, and continues to thwart the U.S. and the Iraqi government, then we may very well see a de facto partition in which the western Anbar province continues to house and develop terrorists," Bachmann's statement said.
It also said there are multiple reasons to believe Iran would seek to expand its territory to include Shi'a Iraq, including "their natural cultural ties, the long history of Iran and Iraq wars, and regional security."
During the St. Cloud Times interview, Bachmann also said the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wants to obliterate the United States.
"He's a crazed, delusioned president of Iran. He is literally a madman," said Bachmann.
Bachmann also said she was concerned that Iran was on the verge of having nuclear power at its disposal.
"This is a very serious concern that we need to pay close attention to, and make sure that we take whatever means are necessary to make sure that Ahmadinejad does not succeed," said Bachmann.
The interview took place on Feb. 9, and the St. Cloud Times posted the interview on its Web site on Feb. 10. Bachmann's comments on the plan to partition Iraq didn't come to light until Friday.
Bachmann is a first-term Republican, representing Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. Her district includes St. Cloud, Anoka and several northern and eastern Twin Cities suburbs.
- All Things Considered, 02/23/2007, 5:50 p.m.