Iran has sent “small numbers” of operatives into Iraq to bolster the Shiite-led government in Baghdad but there is no sign of a major deployment of army units, the Pentagon said Friday.

“There are some Iranian revolutionary operatives in Iraq but I’ve seen no indication of ground forces or major units,” spokesman Admiral John Kirby told a news conference, apparently referring to Tehran’s Quds force, the covert arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

His comments marked the first public confirmation by the U.S. government that Iranian operatives had crossed into Iraq, where the Baghdad government is struggling to counter the swift advance of Sunni extremists. […]