Iranian brokers pick through DoD military surplus for parts
The Iranian military still operates F-14s that were sold to it by the United States in the 1970s, but parts for upkeep of these jet fighters are hard to find unless you tap the U.S. Defense Department’s military surplus auctions.
The Associated Press reported that Iranian and other Middle Eastern arms brokers are actively buying U.S. military components through Defense Department surplus auctions and shipping them back to Iran through illicit channels, a violation of U.S. export control regulations.
The AP said U.S. regulators are now concerned about the recent availability of F-14 Tomcat parts on the surplus market now that the plane has been decommissioned from U.S. military service.
In a recent case, an Iranian broker bought F-14 parts from the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, but Customs and Border Protection agents were able to stop the shipment and return the parts to the Defense Department. The Defense agency then ended up reselling the parts to another suspected Iranian broker with “the customs evidence tags still attached,” the AP reported.
Frederick N. Baillie, executive director of distribution and revitalization policy for the Defense Logistics Agency, told the newswire service that customs measures are in place to catch illegal arms shipments. “Customs is supposed to check all exports to make sure that all the appropriate certifications and licenses had been granted,” he said.