Gates: Iranian Weaponry
Found In Iraq
By CBC / AP
02/09/07 -- -(CBS/AP) Serial numbers and markings on
explosives used in Iraq provide "pretty good" evidence
that Iranians are providing either weapons or technology
for militants there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Gates' comments made official the Iran weapons
connection first reported by CBS News at the end of
January, when officials told national security
correspondent David Martin that serial numbers on parts
used to make advanced explosive devices, powerful enough
to breach the armor on an American tank, had been traced
directly back to Iran.
The officials also told Martin rocket-propelled grenade
launchers and assault rifles found in Iraq had Iranian
Offering some of the first public details of evidence
the military has collected, Gates said, "I think there's
some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some
of the projectile fragments that we found," that point
At the same time, however, he said he was somewhat
surprised that recent raids by coalition and Iraqi
forces in Iraq swept up some Iranians.
Just last week, Gates said that U.S. military officers
in Baghdad were planning to brief reporters on what is
known about Iranian involvement in Iraq but that he and
other senior administration officials had intervened to
delay the briefing in order to assure that the
information provided was accurate.
Speaking to reporters at a defense ministers' conference
in Seville, Spain, Gates said Friday, "I don't think
there was surprise that the Iranians were actually
involved, I think there was surprise we actually picked
He and other U.S. officials have said for some time that
Iranians, and possibly the government of Iran, have been
providing weapons technology, and possibly some
explosives to Iraqi insurgents.
But, Bernie Kaussler, an associate fellow at the
University of St. Andrews' Institute for Iranian
Studies, tells CBSNews.com that he's not convinced top
Iranian officials are involved in weapons smuggling.
"There are so many players in Iranian politics, many
times the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is
doing. That might well be the case," he explains. "It is
possible that there are a few hotheads supplying weapons
and support without the central government knowing."
The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been a
leading killer of U.S. forces in Iraq, where more than
3,000 servicemen and women have died in the nearly
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied his
government is supporting Iraq's militias with money or
The IEDs have been a leading killer of U.S. forces in
Iraq, where more than 3,000 servicemen and women have
died in the nearly four-year-old war.
Gates, who is attending his first NATO defense ministers
meeting, said Iran is "very much involved in providing
either the technology or the weapons themselves for
these explosively formed projectiles. Now they don't
represent a big percentage of the IED attacks but
they're extremely lethal."
Gates said the raids combined with the movement of an
additional U.S. aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf
have created a stir, but said the Bush administration
has no intention of attacking Iran.
In other developments:
U.S. helicopters mistakenly killed at least five Kurdish
troops Friday in a friendly fire incident against forces
Washington hopes to partner with to secure Iraq, U.S.
and Iraqi officials said. The deaths occurred in eastern
Mosul at about midnight. The U.S. military said the
airstrike was targeting al Qaeda fighters, but later
issued an apology, saying the five men killed had been
identified as Kurdish police. Kurdish officials put the
casualty toll at eight killed and six wounded
The military also said three U.S. soldiers died Thursday
in fighting in Anbar province, an insurgent stronghold
west of Baghdad, bringing the total number of U.S.
military deaths in Iraq this month to 33. The deaths
raised to at least 3,117 members of the U.S. military
who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003,
according to an Associated Press count.
Police said gunmen dressed in Iraqi army uniforms swept
into a village south of Baghdad, kidnapping 13 civilians
and killing at least 11 of them. The attack occurred in
Imam, a predominantly Shiite village about 47 miles
south of the Iraqi capital. Police later found 11 bodies
with gunshot wounds to the head and chest, and they were
believed to be those who had been kidnapped, police and
the Iraqi army said.
A roadside bomb killed one British soldier and wounded
three others in southern Iraq on Friday, the British
military said. The attack occurred at an intersection
about 3 miles southeast of Basra, according to a
spokeswoman for British forces in Iraq. The latest
casualties bring to 101 the number of British military
deaths attributed to hostile action since the U.S.-led
invasion in 2003, according to Britain's Ministry of
Military prosecutors must restart their case against an
Illinois Marine who made the stunning decision to
withdraw his guilty plea for the murder of an unarmed
Iraqi civilian. Corporal Trent Thomas told a judge
yesterday he no longer believes he is guilty and was
following a lawful order. The 25-year-old Madison,
Illinois man had pleaded guilty to kidnapping and
murder. The charges stem from the death of a 52-year-old
man who was dragged from his home and shot last year.
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