BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iran is smuggling advanced weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, into Iraq to be used by extremists against American troops, the US military charged on Sunday.
US military spokesman Rear Admiral Mark Fox told reporters in Baghdad that Iran was shifting sophisticated arms such as "RPG-29s, explosively-formed penetrators (EFPs), 240 mm rockets and Misagh-1 surface-to-air missiles" across its borders into Iraq.
An EFP is a feared roadside bomb which when it explodes emits a white-hot slug of molten copper that can cut through the armoured skins of US military vehicles.
Fox reiterated that Iranian national Mahmudi Farhadi, detained on Thursday in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah, is one of the kingpins in the bomb smuggling operations.
"He is a member of the Ramazan Corps, the Quds Force department responsible for all operations in Iraq," Fox said.
"We are fulfilling our professional responsibility to detain those individuals who are smuggling these illegal weapons into Iraq," he added.
Iran insists that Farhadi is a civilian official on a visit to Iraq as part of a trade delegation.
On Saturday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who says Farhadi is a known businessman and not a bomb smuggler, wrote a stern letter to top US officials in Iraq to demand that he be released.
US military spokesman Major Winfield Danielson told AFP on Sunday that Farhadi was still being interrogated.
"We are questioning the individual regarding his knowledge of, and involvement in, the transportation of improvised explosive devices and EFPs from Iran into Iraq, and his role in facilitating travel and training in Iran for Iraqi insurgents," he said.
"We have not yet determined if charges will be filed."
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