Thursday, March 04, 2010

Iranians captured in the process of importing assassination weapons -- was a covert revenge operation thwarted?

Maktoob reports:

Two Iranians and five Italians were arrested Wednesday in Italy on suspicion of trafficking arms to Iran in violation of international sanctions, a top anti-terrorist prosecutor said.

...Nejad Hamid Masoumi, 51, was accredited as a journalist in Rome, while the other, Bakhtiyari Homayoun, 47, had no stated occupation. Both were arrested in Turin in northwest Italy... Filling orders from Iran, the entrepreneurs bought weapons in Europe, mainly in Germany, Andreone said, adding that most of the purchases were legal.

They transported the weapons through third countries such as Britain, Switzerland and Romania before shipping them to Iran using other companies as cover.

Some shipments passed via the Gulf state of Dubai... The scheme fell apart with a simple check by Romanian customs officials, who confiscated 200 gunsights. Another 100 were seized in London, Andreone said.

"The order was for 1,000 gunsights, of which 150 were already sent to Iran via Switzerland," he said. "We managed to interrupt the supply of 120 buoyancy compensators for divers designed for military use."

The probe interrupted the supply of anti-tank projectiles made in Bulgaria and in former Soviet states, as well as explosive chemical materials including zirconium and nickel, Andreone said.

The photos depict the items the Italian authorities offered to the press; and these completely contradict the news report.

Consider that the Italian authorities displayed small arms and knives -- a Beretta 92FS fitted with a silencer, for instance. These are weapons designed for covert operations, not warfare.

Say, an assassination or three to retaliate for the hit on Hamas.

I'd say that's the bigger story, which appears to have been -- unsurprisingly -- completely missed by a complacent and clueless press.

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