Adm. William J. Crowe, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today that the military chiefs have begun an internal study to determine whether U.S. arms shipped to Iran are playing any significant role in the Iran-Iraq war.
Crowe also said the controversy over the Iranian arms sales has resulted in increased consultation between the White House and the Joint Chiefs.
There was no such consultation before President Reagan's decision to sell arms to Iran last year, Crowe said, and the Joint Chiefs knew nothing of money being diverted from the arms profits to the Nicaraguan contras before the White House disclosed it.
Crowe said the Joint Chiefs had yet to see any indication that U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles and spare parts for Hawk anti-aircraft missiles were playing a significant role in fighting between Iran and Iraq.
Crowe said he would characterize the fighting as having settled into an impasse after Iranian gains last month near the Iraqi city of Basra.
Crowe said the chiefs consider it necessary to determine what effect the U.S.-made weapons have had on the fighting.
"We're looking at that," he said. "It's a little early to say because this kind of intelligence is difficult to get real-time. You sort of have to look at it over a period of time. . . .