Published February 02, 2013
The Wall Street Journal
FILE: March 7, 2012: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is accussing Iran’s paramilitary force of an intensified campaign to destabilize the Middle East by smuggling antiaircraft weapons to its militant allies.
Iran’s export of so-called manpads — antiaircraft missiles that can be carried by a single person — represent what Panetta called a dangerous escalation.
“There is no question when you start passing manpads around, that becomes a threat—not just to military aircraft but to civilian aircraft,” Panetta told The Wall Street Journal in an interview describing shifting threats to the U.S. as he prepares to leave his post. “That is an escalation.”