Introduction: Promoting Iranian Influence in Bosnia
Although many details await a truthful accounting from the White House, the main outlines of the Administration’s Iran-Bosnia policy were laid out in The Los Angeles Times’ April 4, 1996 report breaking the story:
“President Clinton secretly gave a green light to covert Iranian arms shipments into Bosnia in 1994 despite a United Nations arms embargo that the United States was pledged to uphold and the Administration’s own policy of isolating Tehran globally as a supporter of terrorism, according to senior Administration officials and other sources. Two top U.S. diplomats, acting on instructions from the White House and the State Department, told Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in early 1994 that the United States would not object to the creation of an arms pipeline that would channel the weapons through Croatia and into Bosnia-Herzegovina….after consultations with National Security Adviser Anthony Lake and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott….The operation continued until January of this year, even after nearly 20,000 American troops began to be deployed as peacekeepers in Bosnia, Clinton Administration officials said.”
“When French commandos stormed an isolated chalet in Bosnia on February 15, 1996, they found a terrorist training center replete with sniper rifles, rocket launchers, and explosives disguised as children’s toys. Later that month, IFOR arrested three Iranians manning this terrorist camp.
And Iran’s influence is not limited to Iranians coming to Bosnia. The New York Times on March 3, 1996 quoted a senior European military officer as stating that his government had evidence that Bosnia sent troops to Iran. He rightly suggested that ideological indoctrination represented an even bigger threat to the West than the technical training those troops received.”