Italy arrests Iranian spies smuggling weapons

Iran’s steadily progressing nuclear program is top of the terrorist/espionage pops and it comes as no surprise that the country’s got its spies on the hunt for weapons and nuclear materials to import into Iran illegally.

In a nutshell, Iran is under an international UN arms embargo, so they’re having a tough time getting their hands on the bomb-building materials they need over the table. They swear up and down that their only motivation for nuclear development is civil and infrastructural improvement…, but the free world is fairly certain that’s just another line, especially given the ties between Tehran and the internationally recognized terrorist group Hezbollah.

On Wednesday, Italian officials arrested seven people suspected of conspiring to illegally export weapons to Iran, 5 Italians and 2 alleged Iranian intelligence officers. According to media reports, two additional Iranians, for whom arrest warrants have been issued, are on the run.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has repeatedly called for tougher commercial sanctions against Iran as a way to force the country to quit nuclear development, though the chances of embargos being effective seem slight. Once an active trader with Iran, Italy has now joined many other countries in isolating the Iranian regime.

Italian antiterrorism prosecutor Armando Spataro said Operation Sniper’s successful investigation and bust involved the collaboration of officials from Switzerland, Romania and the UK, tracking the movement of black-market merchandise through the UK, Eastern Europe and Dubai.

Among the intercepted paraphernalia were tracer bullets, incendiary bombs and other explosive materials, in addition to optical equipment, scuba-diving jackets and oxygen tanks.

One of the Italians arrested is a lawyer from Turin who owns an arms trading business.

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