State sponsor of terrorism Iran is providing “ballistic missiles” to Tehran-allied Shiite militia groups in Iraq, a top U.S. Department of State (DOS) official declared Thursday.
The declaration comes days after Breitbart News learned that the Pentagon does not consider combating Iran-backed Shiite militias part of the U.S. military’s mission in Iraq.
While briefing reporters on Tehran’s transfer of weapons to its proxies across the Middle East, Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran at DOS, said:
Just as we must constrain Iranian expansion in Syria, the Golan Heights, and in Iraq, we must also prevent Iran from entrenching itself in Yemen … In Iraq, credible reports indicate that Iran is transferring ballistic missiles to Shiite militia groups. This comes as these militias carried out highly provocative attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Baghdad and Basra in September, which we know that Iran did nothing to stop.
This month, the Pentagon’s lead inspector general (IG) charged with overseeing the U.S. fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), American lawmakers, and DOS have highlighted the menace against United States interests posed by Iranian proxies, including the Baghdad-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces/Units (PMF/U).
The PMF is an umbrella organization of mainly Iran-backed Shiite militias that include the likes of Tehran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah and factions linked to thousands of attacks against American troops.
Hook demanded that Iran “stop testing and proliferating missiles, stop launching and developing nuclear-capable missiles, and stop supporting militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Yemen.”
“Iran needs to start behaving like a normal country and surrender its title as the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism,” he added.
During his speech, Hook detailed Iranian transfers of missiles and rockets to various groups it supports in other countries.
On November 14, Nathan Sales, the top counterterrorism official at State, cautioned lawmakers that Iran proxy Hezbollah had established “large caches of military equipment and explosives” in America’s backyard — Bolivia.
According to DOS, Iran spends nearly $1 billion annually on terrorism, including $700 million on Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon and is heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering activities in the Western Hemisphere, mainly Latin America.
The Trump administration has expressed a desire to counter Iran’s influence in Iraq, but the Pentagon has been relatively silent on this plan, telling Breitbart News the U.S. military’s mission in Iraq is to combat the remnants of ISIS, not Iranian proxies.
According to Reuters, there are an estimated 150,000 Iran-backed PMU members in Shiite-majority Iraq, including groups that fought the U.S. military after the 2003 invasion.