THE Iranian government yesterday denied US charges that it was smuggling arms into Afghanistan to help the Taleban destroy NATO tanks and bring down helicopters.
‘We have no interest in instability in Iraq or Afghanistan’ the paper quotes an Iranian official as saying.
‘We have good neighbourly relations with the heads of state, who have praised Iran recently. Why should we send weapons to the opposition?’
Iran, a predominantly Shi’ite Muslim country, has long opposed the Taleban, a Sunni Muslim group with different ideas about society, government and religion.
The Washington Post has reported that NATO troops seized the arms shipment, which included armour-piercing bombs, earlier this month.
It added that there was now an escalating flow of Iranian weaponry into Iraq.
Citing unnamed officials from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the newspaper said the shipment seized on September 6th included armour-piercing bombs, which have been especially deadly when used as roadside bombs against foreign troops in Iraq.
The NATO-led force interdicted two smaller shipments of similar weapons from Iran into southern Helmand province April 11 and May 3rd, the report said.
‘It’s not the fact that it’s qualitatively different, but this was a large shipment which got people’s attention,’ the paper quotes a US official as saying.
This time, the arms were allegedly shipped into the western province of Farah, indicating an attempt to find routes less likely to be discovered, the newspaper said.