The Telegraph reports this morning that rifles imported from Austria by Iran have surfaced among insurgents in Iraq. Steyr-Mannlicher exported 800 of its high-powered HS50 models, capable of piercing body armor, to the National Iranian Police Association for their anti-narcotics efforts:
Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.
The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.
The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops.
This appears to aubstantiate the findings of the Department of Defense, presented this weekend, that Iran has actively supplied weapons to the Iraqi insurgencies, and that those weapons have killed American troops. The DoD focused on the EFPs, explosive devices that can destroy vehicular armor, and counted 170 American deaths from the super-IEDs. The HS50s have also killed Americans, and seem designed to do so. The first American to die from the HS50 was shot 45 days after the Iranian police received their shipment.
US forces have captured over a hundred of the HS50s from the Iranian police shipment. That amounts to over 12% of the total number of rifles imported by Iran to fight drug dealers, a dodge that has grown more threadbare ever since the invasion of Iraq. The Iranians have not claimed -- yet -- that they managed to lose one-eighth of all the new rifles intended for their police, and the Iranian government was clearly the recipient of the arms. In fact, Austria defended the sale on that very point.
Pardon the pun, but this is literally the smoking gun. We can trace these weapons from its manufacturer directly to the Iranian government. The quantity in which they have been found in insurgent bases precludes any explanation that a few just got mislaid; they obviously have been transferred from an Iranian state organization to the terrorists in Iraq. It's the clearest evidence of Iranian involvement in attacks on Americans. The involvement of the mullahcracy is undeniable, and it is a direct retort to those who keep claiming that Iran has no stake in Iraqi instability.