Roadside bombs manufactured by Iran took out 196 American troops in Iraq between November 2005 and December 2011, rather than the figure of 500 cited by military officials in July.
Out of 1,526 explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), nearly 200 Americans died and 861 suffered from injuries, Defense One reports.
EFPs, present on the scene in Iraq since 2005, wrought havoc on American forces, mostly because they are a much more advanced form of roadside bomb than regular IEDs and function as cannons, rather than simply sending shrapnel in all directions. The total cost to make an EFP is about $30.
While startling, the new number obtained by declassified U.S. Central Command documents is less than half the figure cited by military officials like Gen. Joseph Dunford, who stated that the number was “recently quoted as about 500” during his nomination hearing for incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in early July.
Gen. Martin Dempsey modified that figure several weeks later, saying at a July 29 hearing that the number was “several hundred.”
The figure of how many Americans have died has clearly shifted over time, partly because establishing who is responsible for manufacturing EFPs and arming Shia fighters in Iraq is somewhat of a shaky process.
For Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, what matters is that Iranians with American blood on their hands will receive many millions of dollars if the Iran nuclear deal moves through Congress.
“[Cruz] asked Secretary [of Defense Ash] Carter to inform the families of the 500 service members who were killed by Iranian EFPs that their loved ones were murdered by the same man who will now receive sanctions relief,” Phil Novack, a spokesman for Cruz, told Defense One. “Whether the number is 500 lives or 196 is immaterial; the fact remains that [Iranian] General [Qasem] Soleimani — a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members — will receive sanctions relief to the tune of millions of dollars if this deal is approved.”
Part of the reason for the hardline stance against the deal is that opponents believe unfreezing assets will free up resources for more terror operations.
A recent report by American Action Forum determined that sanctions relief and unfrozen assets, prompted by the nuclear deal, would free up an additional $140 billion for the Iranian government, and given Iran’s past expenditures on defense, it’s expected that the defense budget would increase by at least 3.4 percent. This means that $3.1 billion would be allocated to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite force which has ties to terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. (RELATED: Report: Iran Deal Would Increase Available Terrorist Financing By $3.1 Billion)
In fact, one of the units of the IRGC, the Quds Force, is directly responsible for IED operations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where the American soldiers were killed.
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