Skirting Laws, Iran Buys Bomb Parts From US Firms

Materials used to make top weapon against US troops
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 11, 2009 8:43 AM CST
Iraqis react after their house was demolished last year after the Al-Mahdi army militia destroyed 14 houses with explosives and IEDs.   (AP Photo/ Ahmed Alhussainey)
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(Newser) – Through front firms and complex maneuvering, Iran skirts trading laws to buy bomb parts from US companies, the Washington Post reports. The equipment allows production of improvised explosive devices, or IEDS, bombs that are the leading killer of US troops in Iraq, according to Justice Department documents and a new probe. The Bush administration has tried to stop the illegal importing—but “without doubt, it is still going on,” said a US official.

Iran often makes its purchases through third-party front companies ostensibly operating in other nations that trade with unwitting US firms, says an upcoming report. The front businesses may present themselves as schools or laboratories. And it’s not just IED equipment Iran is procuring; the nation has also sought materials for long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. “That's where the stakes are the highest,” said an investigator.