WASHINGTON — U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that weapons recently confiscated in Iraq were “clearly, unambiguously from Iran” and admonished Tehran for allowing the explosives to cross the border.
Iran’s defense minister denied the claims in a report carried by the state-run news agency IRNA.
According to Ali Shamkhani, Iran is playing no role in Iraqi affairs, including “its alleged involvement in bomb explosions.”
The shipment of sophisticated bombs was confiscated in the past two weeks by U.S. and Iraqi troops in southern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said Monday.
Although he would not comment on whether the Iranian government was directly involved, Rumsfeld said, “it’s notably unhelpful for the Iranians to be allowing weapons of those types to be crossing the border.”
“What you do know of certain knowledge is the Iranians did not stop it from coming in,” he said.
Rumsfeld said the weapons create problems for the Iraqi government, coalition forces and the international community.
“And ultimately, it’s a problem for Iran,” he added.
When asked if that was a threat of possible retaliation, Rumsfeld replied, “I don’t imply threats. You know that.”
“They (the Iranians) live in the neighborhood. The people in that region want this situation stabilized with the exception of Iran and Syria,” he said.
The U.S. officials said the weapons were more lethal and more sophisticated than the bombs typically used by Iraqi insurgents.
After examining the truckload of weapons, intelligence analysts said the explosive parts are similar to those used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
While there is no evidence Iran’s government sanctioned the weapons shipment, the analysts said it may indicate a rogue element inside Iran is making the weapons and trying to ship them to Iraq’s insurgents.
Troops found the bombs inside crates seized near a border crossing on the Iraqi side, the officials said.
Three senior U.S. officials told CNN the weapons were made in such a way that their blast would have been focused in a single direction, thereby increasing their lethality.
One official said the shipment included “tens” of bombs.