Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2010. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Details of a secret arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force made up of a handful of operatives responsible for smuggling arms to conflict areas in the Middle Ease were revealed by Western intelligence sources to Fox News recently.
A report on Wednesday named Unit 190 as the force comprised of only about two-dozen employees. The sources told Fox that the name of a key player in the unit: Behnam Shahariyari, born in 1968 in Ardabil, northwest Iran.
The intelligence sources said that Shahariyari runs a network of straw companies to get by sanctions and hide 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,” Michael Eisenstadt, director of Military and Security Studies programs for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Fox.
The report cited an instance in May 2007, when Turkey intercepted containers filled with 122mm mortar shells and explosives destined for Hezbollah via Syria in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1747. The bill of lading had Shahariyari's signature on it.
The western intelligence sources also provided Fox News with a photo of a hangar at the International airport in Tehran near the Iran Air terminal that serves as a warehouse for Unit 190.
“Many times when you see the United States government imposing sanctions on so-called ‘commercial businesses’ in Iran, it's in reality the Quds Force that they are trying to sanction,” Ali Alfoneh, an Iranian-born political scientist at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies told Fox.