Iranian invasion of Iraq imminent, diplomats say

Iran's Army is poised to invade Iraq and only the timing of a political decision by Tehran may be holding back the attack, Western diplomats said Monday.

The diplomats, quoting intelligence reports, said the Iranians have massed ''a large number of divisions'' along their 700-mile border with Iraq. Iranian religious and political leaders have campaigned for the past two weeks for an invasion of Iraq to force the government of President Saddam Hussein to pay reparations for the 22-month-old Persian Gulf war. The reports of the troop buildup were the first indication that the threats might be more than a domestic effort to keep the Iranian public on a war footing, the diplomats said.

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