Washington President Bush insisted Wednesday that an elite Iranian unit called the Quds Force was providing deadly armor-piercing weapons to Iraqi insurgents and vowed, "I intend to do something about it."
The president backed off slightly from the administration's claim earlier this week that help for Iraq's rebels came from the "highest levels" of the Iranian government.
But he said at a White House press conference that that didn't matter because "The Quds Force is a part of the Iranian government."
The Quds Force is an elite branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
"I can't say it more plainly: There are weapons in Iraq that are harming U.S. troops because of the Quds Force," Bush said.
The president dismissed suggestions that he was actually preparing for a war with Iran.
The administration has asserted evidence of the Iranian regime's complicity at the highest levels for attacks within Iraq. Yet earlier this week, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, questioned that assertion.
Another top military official backed off those statements Wednesday. Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the chief military spokesman, said accusations of top Iranian involvement were only an "inference."
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., went to the Senate floor Wednesday and raised the specter of the administration's faulty intelligence about Iraq that led to the current war.
She urged the White House to "get this right" this time and warned that if the administration planned to widen the war to Iran, "The President must come to Congress to seek that authority."
Bush took a swipe at unnamed allies that might not go along with tough sanctions against Iran.
"Let's put it this way: Money trumps peace, sometimes," Bush said.
Though he didn't mention the allies by name, diplomats speculated he was aiming at Russia and China, close trade partners with Iran who have warned against a U.S. attack.