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Of Arms and Iran


General David Petraeus

At a U.S. congressional hearing, General David Petraeus, top military commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, confirmed that Iran has "without question" provided weapons, training, and funding to the Taliban.

At a U.S. congressional hearing, General David Petraeus, top military commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, confirmed that Iran has "without question" provided weapons, training, and funding to the Taliban.

He said that coalition forces recently interdicted 48 122 millimeter rockets from the Revolutionary Guard's Qod's force sent "through a known Taliban facilitator." These weapons, he said, have a significant increase in range from the rockets typically seen by coalition forces.

The same day General Petraeus testified, navy commandos from Israel boarded a container ship 125 miles off its coast and found a large weapons cache. The Liberian-flagged and German-owned ship Victoria was on its way to Egypt after a stop-off in Syria. It was carrying twenty five hundred mortar shells, six C-704 anti-ship missiles, two radar systems, and 67,000 bullets registered on the ship's manifest as lentils and cotton. Documents accompanying the cache were written in Farsi.

The same week, Egyptian guards at the border with Sudan interdicted several trucks loaded with weapons. According to Time magazine, Egyptian officials told reporters the ordnance was headed for delivery to Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group armed and funded by Iran.

In addition, more evidence of arms transfers involving Iran emerged recently when diplomats from South Korea and Singapore announced that suspected nuclear and weapons materials bound for Iran -- in breach of international sanctions -- had been seized in the last six months.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement: "In light of the recent seizure of advanced arms and related material by Israel and Egypt bound for terrorist groups," he said, "The United States reiterates its strong condemnation of illicit smuggling activities. We underscore that all countries have obligations under relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions to prevent such trafficking in arms and ammunition.

"Iran, in particular, is prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolution 1747 from exporting any arms and related materials," noted Mr. Toner. "Any activity to the contrary is another example of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region. We call upon all regional countries to enforce these obligations." The U.S., he said, "will continue to work closely with our partners to prevent the shipment of arms to terrorist groups."

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