Tehran calling

I learn from Ed Morrissey this morning that the Daily Telegraph of London is reporting:

Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists…
Austrian sniper rifles that were exported to Iran have been discovered in the hands of Iraqi terrorists, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
More than 100 of the.50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids.
The Steyr HS50 is a long range, high precision rifle
The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year.
The sale was condemned in Washington and London because officials were worried that the weapons would be used by insurgents against British and American troops.
Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.

The Telegraph’s report follows the reports of Iran’s contributions to the latest in armor-piercing roadside bombs in Iraq. The Pillar of unwisdom — former CIA national intelligence officer for the Near East Paul Pillar — cites the most recent National Intelligence Estimate in pooh-poohing accounts of official Iranian support for attacks on American forces in Iraq. Listen to Pillar in this Council on Foreign Relations interview.
Pillar asserts that American and Iranian interests in Iraq “partially overlap” and finds our efforts to cut off Iran’s activities in Iraq to be a mistake. An editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reminds us:

It was the intelligence community that underestimated Saddam’s nuclear capabilities before the first Gulf War, only to overestimate them later. It was the CIA “consensus” that also vastly overestimated the strength of the Soviet economy even as Moscow was about to sue for peace. Before 9/11 it was also the intelligence consensus — led by former CIA Near East chief analyst Paul Pillar — that terrorism was a minor and manageable problem.

Now Pillar opines that the United States cannot risk a confrontation with Iran over its contribution to the killing of Americans in Iraq. The interview is a remarkable document that serves as a useful addendum to the February 4 Washington Post column by Pillar that we discussed in “One Pillar of unwisdom.”
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