WASHINGTON (MCT) The U.S. Congress approved a White House request last year for $400 million to expand covert operations inside Iran, according to a report published Sunday but later denied by a senior U.S. diplomat.
The article in the New Yorker magazine, written by Seymour Hersh, said little is known in Congress about what the U.S. forces are actually doing, and some representatives are growing concerned with the scope of the operations.
The report said U.S. personnel are gathering intelligence and working to destabilize the Iranian regime.
In an interview on CNN's "Late Edition," Hersh said President Bush intends to continue to press Iran for the next seven months over its nuclear program.
Earlier on the same program, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker refuted the allegation.
"I can tell you flatly that U.S. forces are not operating across the Iraqi border into Iran," the ambassador said.
Tension between the West and Iran is one factor cited by analysts for the spike in energy prices in world markets.
Bush and other Western powers want Iran to renounce nuclear weapons and not to join the nuclear arms race.
In another interview on CNN, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Iran "has got to prove to us that they are not interested in having nuclear weapons."
Also Sunday, Agence-France Presse reported that Iran has announced it plans to dig 320,000 graves in border districts to allow for the burial of enemy soldiers in the event of any attack on its territory.