Iraqi stiffens stand against Iran

Iran's seven-day old invasion of Iraq appears to have been brought to a standstill by fierce Iraqi resistance, Monitor contributor James Dorsey writes.

Diplomats say that despite Iraqi claims that the Iranian invaders have been pushed back across the border, it remains unclear exactly where the fighting is taking place.

Iraq attempted to illustrate its claim of having driven Iranian forces out of Iraq by inviting Western correspondents to visit a battlefield three miles east of the Shatt al Arab waterway in an area north of the Iraqi port of Basra. Correspondents quoted an Iraqi colonel who accompanied them as saying, ''There are no Iranian positions in Iraq.''

The correspondents were told that Iraq had beaten back the Iranian force of 100,000 men and that the bodies of 1,000 Iranians casualties have been removed. Destroyed Iranian tanks were said to have borne witness to the intensity of the fighting. South of Basra the correspondents were shown 800 Iranian prisoners of war.

The trip did not provide conclusive evidence that Iranian troops had in fact been totally evicted from Iraq. During the trip to the front the continuous sound of an ongoing artillery battle could clearly be heard.

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