News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqU.S. says new find shows Iran still sends arms...

U.S. says new find shows Iran still sends arms to Iraq


ImageWall Street Journal: The U.S. military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to conclude Tehran is continuing to funnel armaments into Iraq despite its pledges to the contrary.

The Wall Street Journal

April 25, 2008; Page A1

ImageWASHINGTON — The U.S. military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to conclude Tehran is continuing to funnel armaments into Iraq despite its pledges to the contrary.

Officials in Washington and Baghdad said the purported Iranian mortars, rockets and explosives had date stamps indicating they were manufactured in the past two months. The U.S. plans to publicize the weapons caches in coming days. A pair of senior commanders said a presentation was tentatively planned for Monday.

The allegations, which couldn't be independently verified, mark a further hardening of U.S. rhetoric on Iran, which senior American officials now describe as the greatest long-term threat to Iraq.

This month, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iranian support for Shiite extremist groups had grown. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said for the first time that he believed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knew about the shipments.

Iran has long denied that its government knowingly funneled weapons into Iraq or trained Shiite militants there. It has derided the U.S. claims as propaganda. Several senior U.S. military officials said the weapons caches would undercut the Iranian denials and provide new evidence of continuing Iranian support for Shiite militants across Iraq.

"You can see the manufacturing dates right on the armaments themselves," one senior commander in Baghdad said. "These are very clearly weapons that were made in the last month or so."

Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the top American military spokesman in Baghdad, said U.S. officials were "working on a briefing that we hope to be able to deliver in the next week or so." He said he would not be "disclosing the substance of the brief."

Last fall, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Mr. Ahmadinejad had told the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Tehran would take steps to curb shipments of Iranian weaponry into Iraq.

The weapons of deepest concern to U.S. officials were explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, which U.S. officials accuse Iran of manufacturing and shipping to Shiite militants. EFPs, which are capable of punching through even the strongest U.S. armor, have been responsible for hundreds of American deaths.

The number of EFP attacks began to sharply decline after the Iranian assurances, resulting in a significant reduction in U.S. military casualties. That led several senior State Department officials to conclude that Tehran was honoring its commitments.

At the Pentagon, Mr. Gates and other top military officials have been skeptical, arguing it was too soon to draw that conclusion.

The number of EFP attacks against U.S. forces has rebounded this year. American commanders accuse Iran of providing the rockets that rained down on the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad recently, killing several Americans. U.S. officials said Iran provided the weaponry that Shiite militants used in block-by-block fighting with Iraqi government security forces in the southern port city of Basra this month.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, focused his recent congressional testimony almost exclusively on Iran, which he said was playing a "destructive role" by funneling advanced weaponry to Shiite militants in Iraq.

Within the State Department, views about Iran have also been hardening. Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told reporters last year that there were signs Tehran was "using some influence to bring down violence from extremist Shia militias." Earlier this month, by contrast, he said Iran was playing a "highly dangerous" role in Iraq, and directly accused Tehran of providing the deadly rockets that slammed into the U.S. Embassy compound where he lives and works.

Mr. Crocker also said that recent talks between U.S., Iraqi and Iranian officials had made little progress and failed to persuade Iran to change its behavior in Iraq.

Still, U.S. officials have until recently acknowledged uncertainty when the Iranian armaments used in Iraq were manufactured. If the rockets and explosives were made before Iran's vow to curb weapons shipments, it was possible Tehran was abiding by its commitment.

In light of the new discovery, U.S. officials say they feel confident Iran is continuing to produce weapons and ship them to Iraqi militants. Some of the newly found weapons had manufacturing dates stamped on the weapons themselves, while others were in sealed containers that had similar manufacturing information, the officials said.

Latest news

The World Must Acknowledge the Iranian People’s Right to Self-defense

Victor Hugo once said: “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” Throughout history, this has been the...

Iran: 60% Of Population Is Poor

The livelihood baskets of the Iranian people are shrinking dramatically. This, in turn, has introduced new concerns to protect...

The implications of EU’s terrorist designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)

The European Parliament called on January 18 for the European Union to list Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a...

Iran’s Regime Is Hiding Human Rights Violations In Its Prisons

With more than four months into Iran’s latest round of nationwide uprisings, the brutality of the Iranian regime’s security...

How Internet Censorship Is Damaging Iran’s Economy

While in the last four months, internet access in Iran has been cut off or severely limited, the regime’s...

Iran Regime’s Upcoming Budget Bill Will Lead To More Protests

On January 12, the Iranian regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi handed over the country’s budget bill to the parliament.  According...

Must read

Over 1000 Iranian military advisors in Iraq

The Iranian regime’s military involvement has dramatically increased in...

Iranian scientist returns after release from US

AP: An Iranian scientist held by the U.S. since...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you