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WEAPONS

Spanish police bust Iran weapons material gang

Spain's Civil Guard police force said on Monday they had dismantled a criminal gang which was planning to ship weapons producing materials to Iran.

Spanish police bust Iran weapons material gang
The gang's members have been charged with belonging to a criminal organization, illegally dealing in materials of dual use and money laundering. Photo: Civil Guard

Three Spaniards and an Iranian were arrested in Tarragona and Palma de Mallorca in the sting known as Operation Terracota.

The gang members were planning to ship so-called dual-use technologies to Iran before they were found to be in possession of industrial machines for moulding metals, the Civil Guard said in a statement.

The machines can be used for civilian purposes including making fire extinguishers, but they can also produce missile casings and gas centrifuges used for uranium enrichment.

The machines in question had earlier been imported illegally into Spain from the UK and the gang had set up a complex smokescreen for their onward shipment in a bid to flout international sanctions against Iran, the Civil Guard said.

The Civil Guard also seized €10,000 ($13,700) in cash and a mass of documentation about the shipment of dual use technologies.

The gang's members have been charged with belonging to a criminal organization, illegally dealing in materials of dual use and money laundering. 

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IRAN

Two Spanish ‘poachers’ arrested in Iran

Two Spanish citizens have been arrested in Iran for allegedly hunting reptiles in a protected area, state-run IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

Two Spanish 'poachers' arrested in Iran
Photo of a hunter and his dog: Shutterstock

Gholam Hossein Kazemi of the Environment Protection Organisation, quoted by IRNA, said the pair were caught in the western Ilam province in possession of an " alligator and hunting devices to capture the animals alive", news agency AFP reported.

The exact animal was, however, named as a toad-headed agama by the Iranian newspaper Arman.  

The suspects were referred to a provincial court "for legal proceedings", he said without elaborating.

Spain's embassy in Tehran said it was unaware of the arrests, while Kazemi told IRNA the suspects said they were ignorant of Iran's environmental protection laws.

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