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Secret Iranian unit fueling Mideast bloodshed with illicit arms shipments

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By Jennifer Griffin

As conflicts and civil wars rage across the Middle East and North Africa, a shadowy covert cell operating under the Iranian government is fueling the bloodshed.

Unit 190, a secret arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force made up of about two-dozen employees, has for years smuggled arms to these conflict zones.

After an extensive investigation tracing the land, air and sea routes used by the Quds Force to move weapons to Hezbollah, Hamas and now the Houthis in Yemen, Fox News has also learned from western intelligence sources the name of the Iranian man who is a key player in Unit 190: Behnam Shahariyari, born in 1968 in Ardabil, northwest Iran.

According to western intelligence sources, Shahariyari runs a network of straw companies -- which skirt sanctions packing RPG's, night-vision equipment and long-range rockets in powdered milk, cement and spare vehicle parts.

“Very often arms and explosives were placed in trucks underneath legal cargo in order to hide them,” said Michael Eisenstadt, director of Military and Security Studies programs for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

In May 2007, when Turkey intercepted containers filled with 122mm mortar shells and explosives destined for Hezbollah via Syria in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747, the bill of lading had Shahariyari's signature on it.

 

Read More: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/02/11/secret-iranian-unit-fueling-mideast-bloodshed-with-illicit-arms-shipments/

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