Iran Trains Militiamen Inside Iraq, U.S. Says
Iran’s government has consistently denied any connection between the Revolutionary Guard Corps and insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq, and some military intelligence analysts have concluded there is no concrete evidence of such a link. But U.S. military leaders in Iraq have repeatedly maintained that Iran is providing money, weapons and training to so-called special cell militia groups, generally citing information gathered from interrogations.
Lynch said that no Iranians have been captured in his area of command and that U.S. troops have never found any illegal weapons in two months of patrolling 125 miles of the Iran-Iraq border.
But he said that the number of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators — sophisticated roadside bombs built to puncture the armor on Humvees — has increased dramatically in recent months, while the accuracy of Shiite extremists’ bombs and mortars has improved significantly.
“The enemy is more aggressive than it used to be and, candidly, in many cases he is more lethal,” Lynch said.
Lynch also said Sunni insurgents are using Iranian weapons in southern Iraq, though he said he did not know how the weapons were obtained. More than 90 percent of Iran’s population is Shiite, making it unlikely that the Tehran leadership would support Sunni fighters. One possibility, Lynch said, is that Shiites are selling the Iranian weapons on the black market in Iraq.