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July 09, 2008 

The Persian Paradox: Why is so Much Sensitive U.S. Military Technology Winding up in Iran?

Iran is obviously a hot topic these days. In addition to today's missile test, the widely distributed AP article on exports to Iran that was published yesterday and referenced at today's House Foreign Affairs Committee's hearing on U.S. Policy toward Iran, Mother Jones has published an article entitled "The Persian Paradox: Why is so much sensitive U,S. military technology winding up in Iran?"

The article, written by Laura Rozen, Mother Jones' national security correspondent and publisher of the widely read War and Piece blog, discusses the efforts by arms dealer Arif Durrani (who appears on BIS's Denied Person's List) and others to export and re-export U.S. military technology to Iran. The article notes:

The latest statistics on illegal US arms sales to Iran detected and compiled by investigators at the US bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), now part of the Department of Homeland Security, read like the basis of a spy novel. The story they tell raises many questions.

On the one hand, they tell a colorful if familiar story of wily arms dealers in the gray- and black-market world from the likes of Pakistan, Iran, Israel, and China, with beachheads in places including California, Mexico, South Africa, and Dubai. In this world, dealers recruit former US military and intelligence officials to help them export restricted US military technology—ostensibly to neutral third countries—knowing full well the final destination is actually sanctioned countries for such exports, such as Iran.

The article also describes U.S. efforts to get a handle on the problem.

Editors Note: Full disclosure - I am quoted in the article.

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