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'Smuggled Royal Marine sniper rifles to Iran ended up in hands of Taliban'

June 8, 2011 - London

Concerns have been raised in the British Foreign Ministry about Iran's "hypocritical, and highly dangerous" actions, after an investigation revealed that a former Royal Marine had helped to smuggle a number of sniper rifles to that country, which eventually ended up in the hand of the Taliban.

The revelation has raised concerns of the Iranian link with the Taliban following an operation last February, in which British Special Forces found 48 powerful rockets and 1000 rounds of ammunition in two lorries in the southern province of Nimroz, The Telegraph reports.

Andrew Faulkner was jailed last year for arms smuggling, and the recent investigation by the BBC has revealed that some of weapons he was trading in were eventually taken to Afghanistan.

Between October 2008 and February 2009, large quantities of high specification rifle sights imported from Germany and used by precision marksmen in the armed forces, were delivered to his farmhouse.

HM Revenue and Customs seized Faulkner's computer from his home, and found that the scopes were supposed to be sent Iran.

Falkner was charged with export control violations for trying to ship military goods without a licence.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said that Iran was "hypocritical, two faced and highly dangerous."

The investigation had reportedly led to an Italian team of smugglers, led by Bakhtiyari Houmayoun and Alessandro Bon, who were allegedly trying to transport explosive fuses for bombs along with 800 scopes over the course of three years.

Two of the scopes were later found by German soldiers in Afghanistan.


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