The United States has begun sending a team of exiled Iraqis back to Baghdad to be part of an interim America-led government, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The Iraqi exiles are supposed to take up positions at each of 23 Iraqi ministries and will work closely with US and British officials.
Most of the Iraqi exiles, who were sent by the Pentagon, are said to have a background in administration, the paper quoted senior administration officials as saying.
The Pentagon has set up the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance before the war designed to oversee the post-war reconstruction in Iraq and named Jay Garner, a retired USgeneral, to serve as Iraq's day-to-day administrator.
In another developments, a religious edict, issued in Iran on April 8 and distributed to Shiite mullahs in Iraq, urged them to "seize the first possible opportunity to fill the power vacuum in the administration of Iraqi cities."
The edict said Shiite leaders have to "seize as many as positions as possible to impose a fait accompli for any coming government."
The Shiites, who account for 60 percent of the Iraqi population,have so far refused to take part in any meetings organized by the United States, and have also called for an end to the US occupation of their country.
But US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday that the United States will not permit an Iranian-style theocratic government to run the postwar Iraq.