Iran Dismisses Claims It's Arming Iraqi Insurgents

Iran's state TV says the country's defense minister has dismissed renewed U.S. claims that Tehran is arming Iraqi insurgents.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said during a visit to Iraq earlier this week that the U.S. is concerned about Iran's supplying of arms to Shiite groups in Iraq.

Wednesday's report on Iran's state TV quoted the defense minister, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, as saying Panetta's remarks were aimed at distracting public opinion. The report quoted him as saying that "U.S. hegemony in the region has been smashed and the remark by Panetta is an indication of the political failure."

Tehran has repeatedly denied U.S. accusations that it smuggles weapons to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.