Iran caught running $100 million arms smuggling operation in Iraq
Washington Free Beacon:
Iran's paramilitary fighting force has been running a multi-million-dollar illicit weapons smuggling program in Iraq, according to new disclosures by the Trump administration, which issued a bevy of sanctions on Wednesday aimed at disrupting the arms network.Putting the squeeze on Iran's terror proxy operation is a worthwhile goal. The Obama administration's failure to do so is another demonstration of how weak they were in dealing with the Iranian threat.
The Trump administration Treasury Department announced new sanctions on an Iraq-based arms network being operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Tehran's elite fighting force that recently was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S.
The arms network "has trafficked hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to IRGC-[Quds Force]-backed Iraqi militias," according to an announcement by the Treasury Department.
The disclosure of this arms network comes amid growing tensions between the Trump administration and Tehran over the country's global terror operations and efforts to work with Europe on plots to skirt tough new U.S. economic sanctions. In response to these economic penalties, Iran has boosted its contested nuclear work and sought to arm regional militant groups, such as those operating in Iraq.
"Treasury is taking action to shut down Iranian weapons smuggling networks that have been used to arm regional proxies of the IRGC Quds Force in Iraq, while personally enriching regime insiders," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement announcing the arms network. "The Iraqi financial sector and the broader international financial system must harden their defenses against the continued deceptive tactics emanating from Tehran in order to avoid complicity in the IRGC's ongoing sanctions evasion schemes and other malign activities."
The arms network is directly tied to IRGC Commander Qasem Soleimani, who has led Iran’s terror operations in Syria and elsewhere.