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Last Updated: Monday, 10 September 2007, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
US plans base on Iraq-Iran border
An allegedly Iranian-made armour-penetrating roadside bomb displayed by US forces (2 July 2007)
The US says the base will help stop Iran supplying weapons to militants
The US military is planning to build its first base near Iraq's border with Iran in order to curb the alleged flow of weapons to Shia militants in Iraq.

Maj Gen Rick Lynch told the Wall Street Journal that the base would be located 6.4km (four miles) from the border and house at least 200 US soldiers.

US forces also plan to build fortified checkpoints on major roads leading to Baghdad from Iran, Gen Lynch said.

Washington has frequently accused Iran of supplying and training insurgents.

Last month, US officials said they might designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards a "terrorist" organisation for helping to destabilise Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran has denied the allegations.

Iranian interference 'troubling'

Gen Lynch, who commands the US Army's 3rd Infantry Division, said the new base would form a central component of a new US effort to hinder the smuggling of advanced weapons from Iran into Iraq. The exact location was not disclosed.

The other components include the construction of six fortified checkpoints on major roads leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad, and the installation of better X-ray detection equipment at the Zurbatiya border crossing.

"We've got a major problem with Iranian munitions streaming into Iraq," he told the Wall Street Journal.

"This Iranian interference is troubling and we have to stop it."

Gen Lynch said 48 advanced roadside bombs had been used against his troops in central and southern Iraq, resulting in the deaths of nine US soldiers.

He also said an attack on one of his bases with 46 Iranian-made rockets had been foiled.

Maj Toby Logsdon, the US officer overseeing the construction of the new base, said he hoped troops would begin operating from it in November.

"Iran will know this is here - they will have to rethink how they do things, and the smugglers will have to rethink how they do things," he said.

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