Italian police arrested nine people on Wednesday, comprising both Italians and Iranians, on suspicion of arms trafficking. Police believe some of those arrested belong to the Iranian secret services.
AFP - Two Iranians and five Italians were arrested Wednesday in Italy on suspicion of trafficking arms to Iran in violation of international sanctions, said anti-terrorist prosecutor Armando Spataro.
Two other Iranians sought in the same operation are currently in Iran, Spataro told a news conference, adding that the two arrested in Italy worked for the Iranian government.
Police were acting on nine arrested warrants with targets including suspected members of the Iranian secret service, they said in a statement earlier.
"It is an investigation of considerable importance because it concerns the entire international community," Spataro said, adding that it had begun in June 2009.
Extensive wiretapping aided the investigation, Spataro said, defending the practice which faces new restrictions in legislation currently before the Italian parliament.
He said police in Bern, Switzerland, where one of the Italian suspects resided, had collaborated with the probe.
The suspects are wanted for "criminal association for the purpose of exporting arms and weapons systems to Iran in violation of the international embargo that is in effect," the earlier statement said.
Investigators also suspect sales of equipment to Iran known as "dual use" because it can be converted for military use, Spataro said.
Date created : 2010-03-03