Sunday Telegraph: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have set up a network of secret smuggling routes to ferry men and equipment into Iraq for attacks on coalition troops, according to an exiled opposition group.
By Con Coughlin
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have set up a network of secret smuggling routes to ferry men and equipment into Iraq for attacks on coalition troops, according to an exiled opposition group.
The smuggling is said to be orchestrated by the guards’ elite Quds Force, which has its HQ in the southern Iranian city of Ahwaz.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) says commanders are sending a steady stream of agents and bomb-making equipment from a base codenamed “Fajr” into Iraq, where roadside attacks are carried out against coalition troops.
After The Sunday Telegraph revealed in August that Iran was supplying infra-red bombs to Iraqi insurgents, the Government held the Iranians responsible for the deaths of at least eight British soldiers.
Last week, Tony Blair condemned Iran as a “threat to world security” after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guards commander, declared that Israel should be “wiped off the map”.
Western intelligence agencies have reported a sharp increase in Iran’s involvement in insurgent operations since Mr Ahmadinejad was elected in June.
The agencies believe that the guards use a network of routes along Iran’s 620-mile border with Iraq.
Documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph show three principal routes, two near the Iraqi cities of Basra and Amara, and a third via the Iranian town of Mehran.
A main route is thought to be through the marshland surrounding the Shatt al-Arab waterway in southern Iraq, which enables guard units to plan attacks against British forces in Basra.
Other routes lead to central Iraq, where United States military intelligence believes that Iranian agents are involved in attacks against US troops, 2,000 of whom have died since the invasion.
Details of the routes have been compiled by the (NCRI), and passed to British and American intelligence officers.
NCRI is regarded as one of the most informed and effective Iranian opposition groups. It was recently responsible for revealing details of Iran’s secret nuclear bomb programme, which led to the latest crisis in relations between Iran and the West.
According to the NCRI’s latest report Iranian agents travel to Iraq dressed as local Arabs to spy on and film British and American patrols.
The report states that each reconnaissance group is formed of 20 members and, apart from monitoring the activities of coalition forces, they are also tasked with linking up with local Shia groups involved in the insurgency.