For the last three years, the U.S.
has been waging a quiet, but increasingly aggressive, campaign against the
Iranian weapons smuggling networks. In that time, there have been nearly 150
prosecutions, and other operations, mostly in the U.S., but also overseas (particularly
in Europe.) Over fifty smugglers have been jailed, and over a hundred have been
chased into exile, or inactivity. In addition, Irans major weapons suppliers
(China, Russia, North Korea) have been pressured to back off.
the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1979 (after Iran broke diplomatic protocol by
seizing the American embassy), Iran has sought, with some success, to offer big
money to smugglers who can beat the embargo and get needed industrial and
military equipment. This is a risky business, and American and European prisons
are full of Iranians, and other nationals, who tried, and failed, to procure
forbidden goods. The smuggling operations are currently under more scrutiny,
and attack, because of Iran's growing nuclear weapons program. But the Iranians
simply offer more money, and more smugglers step up to keep the goodies coming.