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Opinion: Morning Examiner

New report says sophisticated U.S. military equipment for sale in Tehran bazaar

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Army,Afghanistan,Iran,Iraq,Middle East,Kuwait

Looking for the latest U.S. military equipment but can't find anybody to sell it to you here in the United States? Then head over to Tehran and check out "Iran's one-stop shop for U.S. Army gear."

That's according to Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper, a highly credible Middle Eastern publication. The story was researched and written by reporter Kristen Dailey.

Most of the shop's customers for especially sensitive arms from the U.S. are members of the Iranian military, according to its owners.

How can this be?

"Credit" goes to corruption that so pervades Afghanistan, according to the Daily Star:

"Every type of equipment the U.S. military has at its disposal is on sale at the Gomrok bazaar in south Tehran’s Razi Square, the merchants say, and The Daily Star has found evidence that they could be telling the truth.

"'We can get anything that the U.S. Army has now from a supplier in Afghanistan within two weeks,' one trader said.

"'We’ve sold every U.S. Army product from women’s underwear to arms in this bazaar,' he said.

"Another merchant said he was trying to sell a Boeing Apache helicopter, while a third laid out night-vision equipment," the Daily Star reported.

They have sources

It appears that at least some of the items for sale in the Tehran shop were left behind by the American military in Iraq, according to the Daily Star.

But traders interviewed by the Daily Star claimed to have suppliers in Afghanistan and Kuwait, as well as Iraq.

Given the endemic corruption in Afghanistan, it would not be surprising to learn the Taliban uses its sources within the Afghan government to divert U.S. supplies, which are then sold to the Iranian operation.

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