Friday, March 25, 2005

Iran arms its infantry 

Iran is piling up small arms through legal transactions with our, er, allies:
Iran is quietly building a stockpile of thousands of high-tech small arms and other military equipment - from armor-piercing snipers' rifles to night-vision goggles - through legal weapons deals and a U.N. anti-drug program, according to an internal U.N. document, arms dealers and Western diplomats.

The buying spree is raising Bush administration fears the arms could end up with militants in Iraq. Tehran also is seeking approval for a U.N.-funded satellite network that Iran says it needs to fight drug smugglers, stoking U.S. worries it could be used to spy on Americans in Iraq or Afghanistan - or any U.S. reconnaissance in Iran itself.

Now that the United States has eliminated the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, both mortal enemies of Iran, our soldiers represent the only plausible target for these weapons. Even if the Iranian army never deploys against the United States -- and we should all hope to avoid such a war -- the existence of these weapons in Iran increases Tehran's leverage in its sub silentio negotiations over the future of Iraq. The unstated but obvious threat that these advanced weapons could find their way to the insurgency in and of itself increases the pressure on various actors to toe the line, including the United States but also Iraqi Shiites who would otherwise go their own way.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jan 10, 10:36:00 AM:

Hey hi yea doing, was just surfing around for info on irans weapon capabilites when i found this blogg. A few points, Iran has a truely horrendous drug problem (worse than the states), so body armour, night vision and border survailence does not seem too over the top, if you think of the amount of training, satilite survailence and aid the US pumps into columbia and the mexican border in order to limit the flow of drugs over the border.
The second point i'd have to make is the iranians would prefer a stable shiite goverment, than a bunch of sunni hardliners running around beheading shiites and waving advanced
sniper rifles above there heads.

anyway i got this from the china daily

But the diplomats in Vienna say that American opposition to such procurements is complicated by the fact that even Washington agrees Iran has a drug-smuggling problem.

Afghanistan last year supplied more than 90 percent of the world's opium, the raw material for heroin, the U.N. anti-drug agency says.

While the source of most heroin in the United States is Colombian or Mexican, heroin from Afghan opium — most of it transiting Iran — makes up 90 percent of what's available on Europe's streets, explaining British, French and other European interest in stanching the flow.

Iran says more than 3,000 of its police officers have died in the last 10 years battling drug smugglers, some equipped with machine guns and rocket launchers.

In a report last year, Antonio Maria Costa, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said Iranian intelligence had shown him pictures of a drug convoy of more than 60 vehicles with armed escorts crossing from Afghanistan to Iran.  

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