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Incoming Chairman of Joint Chiefs: Iran Killed 500 U.S. Soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan


Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, Obama’s nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last week that the deaths of 500 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan could be attributed to Iran.

On Wednesday, the Military Times highlighted an exchange from General Dunford’s confirmation hearing last week. Senator Tom Cotton, a leading critic of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, asked General Dunford how many deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan were attributable to intervention by Iran. Dunford replied, “I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that were killed by Iranian activities, and the number has been recently quoted as about 500. We weren’t always able to attribute the casualties we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity even though we didn’t necessarily have the forensics to support that.”

Most of the casualties attributed to Iran are the result of a deadly type of roadside bomb known as an explosively formed penetrator (EFP). These bombs were manufactured in Iran and brought to Iraq for use against U.S. troops. The bombs used an explosion to create a slug of molten copper which could penetrate the armor of most U.S. vehicles. During 2006 and 2007 they were the most deadly bombs used against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Other recent estimates of the number of deaths attributable to Iran have been higher. A report published in March of this year by two former UK commanders concluded, “Iranian military action, often working through proxies using terrorist tactics, has led to the deaths of well over a thousand American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade and a half.” The same report notes Iran was also connected to a large shipment of high-end Austrian-made sniper rifles recovered in Iraq.


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