By Jim Garamone
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2006 – The Iranian government is behind shipping components used to make improvised explosive devices to Iraqi insurgents, a senior intelligence official in Iraq said yesterday. Labels on weapons stocks seized inside and outside Iraq point to Iranian government complicity in arming Shiite militias in Iraq, Army Major General Richard Zahner, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence with Multinational Force Iraq, said at a news roundtable.
U.S. officials have said in the past that Iran is fomenting instability in Iraq. In August, Army Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero said that the Iranian government is training many members of the Shiite insurgency in Iraq. Barbero is the deputy operations chief on the Joint Staff.
"Iran is definitely a destabilizing force in Iraq," Barbero said during an Aug. 23 Pentagon news conference. "I think it's irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these Shiia extremist groups and also providing advanced (improvised explosive device) technology to them, and there's clear evidence of that."
Zahner said Iran is funneling millions of dollars for military goods into Iraq. He noted that labels on C-4 explosive found in Baghdad make it clear where the munitions came from. "You'll find a red label on the C-4 printed in English and will tell you the lot number and name of the manufacturer," he said.
In 2002, the Israelis seized a small ship bringing military supplies to Hezbollah. "Compare the labels on the military C-4 in that and tell me if they're not identical," Zahner said.
He said British, Iraqi and American officials in Basra also have found blocks of C-4. "You will see the same red label for each and every one of those," he said.
Zahner also said it's clear that the Iranian government is behind the munitions shipments. "I will tell you that the control of military-grade explosives in Iran is controlled through the state apparatus and is not committed through rogue elements right there," he said. "It is a deliberate decision on the part of elements associated with the Iranian government to affect this type of activities."