...the officials who presented the evidence could not make a direct link to Iran.I checked the internet for sources of EFP's, and found a number of American companies, as well as one Australian and one Austrian company who were selling them. I would say that any nation capable of building airplanes could also produce EFP's. That would include all NATO nations, Brazil, Argentina, and the advanced Asian nations. Then they could be sold into the black market and end up in Iraq very easily.
"The officials said such an assertion was an inference based on general intelligence assessments," stated the New York Times.
They did make much of the detention in Irbil of five Iranians who were said to be members of the Quds force of the Iranian revolutionary Guards.
The Quds (referring to Jerusalem) force was said by the US officials to be controlled directly by the "highest levels of the Iranian government".
That last statement is significant in that the US is now making a charge against the Iranian government itself, not just against its agents.
Against the inference that this all comes from Iran is the concept that Iraqis themselves would be capable of copying a design and therefore do not need to get bombs from Iran.
And there have been a number of news reports over the last year expressing scepticism, even among military personnel, about the link to Iran.
The Washington Post reported last October that British troops in the south doubted the claim.
A year ago, the London Times said that British officers in Basra had stopped making any such claim, saying only that the technology matched bomb-making found elsewhere in the Middle East, including Lebanon and Syria.
The technology is over 30 years old and widely known. The materials are easy to obtain. The only issue is whether machine shops could shape the explosives and their brass or aluminum cover to the required tolerances. Iraq could have done it before the American invasion, and very possibly still could.
So at this time, none of the reports I have seen excludes other nations besides Iran as a source of EFP's. Nor does any specific information publicly available directly link the ones in Iraq to Iran.
In short, this is something that would require a lot of trust in the Bush administration before we could buy their assertions. With their history of lies and misleading statements - if anyone trusts the Bush people to present honest information then they simply have been looking at the last five years.
So let's keep looking for better information, and for a better plan than attacking Iran.