In Pictures: Iranian munitions seized in Iraq


Click the image to view the slideshow of recently seized caches of Iranian-made weapons. Images courtesy of Multinational Forces Iraq.

As the US and Iraqi Army battle the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army and the Special Groups terror cells in central and southern Iraq, the US military in Baghdad has released further information on Iranian-made weapons seized in Iraq. The US has seized numerous weapons caches in the past, with lot numbers and markings clearly linking them back to Iran. Iran has denied any involvement with sending weapons to Iraq, yet it has not explained how these Iranian-manufactured weapons are appearing inside Iraq.

The explosively formed penetrator, or EFP, is one of the signature weapon made by Iran and used by the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups against US and Iraqi forces. The EFP warhead is formed when explosives are detonated behind a machined, metal concave disk. This forms a molten projectile slug that can penetrate the thickest of armor. Iranian-made 107mm rockets and various sizes of mortars are also seized inside Iraq on a regular basis.

The latest Iranian-made weapons cache was seized by US and Iraqi soldiers during a routine operation in Mahmudiyah on March 28. The soldiers found 15 EFPs, more than 100 EFP components, detonation cord, fuses, a bag of homemade explosives, hundreds of rounds, and Iraqi National Police uniforms and rifles.

Iran established the Ramazan Corps in western Iran to manage the covert war inside Iraq in early 2003. The Ramazan Corps is an arm of Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Ramazan Corps is responsible for smuggling weapons and cash into the Mahdi Army and the Special Groups terror cells, as well as recruiting and training Iraqi operatives.

For more information on the Special Groups and Iran’s role in the Iraqi insurgency, see Iran’s Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq and Targeting the Iranian “Secret Cells.” For more information on the Mahdi Army, see Sadr calls for Mahdi Army cease-fire and Dividing the Mahdi Army.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Neo says:

    Latest News
    Iraq’s Sadr orders followers off Streets.
    I believe Sadr’s side just flinched. High casualty rates among core militia members is my guess.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Yes, this has been known for some time. The question is, “Wat are we going to do about it?” There have been reports of cross border raids and there is so much we do not hear about. These weapons are warehoused somewhere, not far from the border. If these places are found, why not send a message? A couple of bombs dropped from a plane…? This is very frustrating. There must be some price to be paid for the smuggling of weapons, and the training of fighters by the Iranians.

  • @thepointyend says:

    Excellent report Bill. Oh by the way, you’ll note in these pictures the quality and condition of these munitions. We’re not talking about rusted RPG launchers that were hidden by the Army during the early days of the war. Those launchers on slide 7 look like they just came out of the crate – a hallmark of Iranian supplied arms.

  • walweather says:

    Great news about the Iraqi Army standing up to the Sadr forces, and winning. That is what everybody wants, right (except the Iranians)?
    Hey Jerry – the majority of casualties of our US military in Iraq the past 6 months have been directly caused by these same Iranian-made IEDs you so conveniently choose to discredit. Therefore, if we can interdict and reduce the supply of these munitions, more Americans (and Iraqis) will live. Isn’t that a good thing too??

  • buck smith says:

    Rhyno327 is asking the same question I keep asking myself. How can Bush not order attacks against Iranian munitions plants? Why does no Senator or Representative press him on this. Petraeus’s upcoming testimony will be very interesting.

  • Neo says:

    “Rhyno327 is asking the same question I keep asking myself. How can Bush not order attacks against Iranian munitions plants? Why does no Senator or Representative press him on this. Petraeus’s upcoming testimony will be very interesting.”

  • Michael says:

    So, why does the CIA exist if not for clandestine operations building against the enemy?
    What has happened to our nations spine? If we supplied Afghanis against the former Communist Soviet Union, why not supply oppositional friendlies with some expertise to blow up some specific markers?

  • Edward says:

    Apparently because the CIA (and its past rep) are so known that the survivors can simply claim CIA involvement; I recall something like this in a discussion on why Sadr was not assassinated (supposedly a USMC major was told that it’d be found out anyway if the U.S. used an assassin).

  • John Ryan says:

    EFPs can be built by a high school shop grad
    Has there even been any annealing done to this copper ? It doesn’t look like it has.

  • jj mollo says:

    I wondered whether a variant on hillbilly armor might work to break up EFP projectiles before they reach the armor. Liquid, no matter how hot, should be able to be somewhat diverted and dispersed by a springy grid of spreader bars, shaped like mullions on a window perhaps, or maybe projecting spikes.

  • Mark Pyruz says:

    To a certain extent, Iranian weapons in Iraq are a bit like Grumman F-14 parts turning up in Iran. There have even been times when the US government allowed such exchanges, during the Iran-Iraq War. As for official Iranian involvement in arms transfers to Iraq, that is certainly hard to trace. Interesting that no Iranian manufactured ATGM’s or MANPAD’s were found in this lot. Most of the weapons types shown in this slideshow can be sourced from a variety of vendors, including Iranian. That Iranian derived arms are a major source to Iraqi insurgents, this may qualify as a gross overstatement.
    Interesting slideshow, Bill. Thanks.


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