Italian Police Uncover Iranian Weapons Procurement Ring

March 1, 2010

Publication Type: 

  • International Enforcement Actions


Wisconsin Project Staff

Italian police arrested two Iranians and five Italians as part of an operation uncovering a ring supplying weapons to Iran from Italy and via third countries. Working with authorities in Britain, Switzerland, and Romania, Italian police said they foiled plans to export tracer bullets, explosives, German-made optical gear, helicopters, and other military hardware. Police were still seeking two more Iranians. The Milan-based arms ring, which operated for at least three years before it was detected, was led by Alessandro Bon, a former sales representative for Beretta, the Italian gun manufacturer. In a tapped phone conversation, Bon was heard informing an associate that several German sniper scopes they had sold to Iran had been found in Afghanistan, where they were used by Taliban forces to fire on German troops. Italy's Financial Guard identified the ring's main customer as Bakhtiyari Homayoun, a suspected Iranian intelligence official. A Tehran front company run by Homayoun was one of several firms that operated as an Iranian government procurement network.


[1] Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Roberto Bonzio, "Italy Makes Arrests for Iran Arms Trafficking," Reuters, March 3, 2010.

[2] Sebastian Rotella, "Iran's Efforts to Buy Embargoed Arms Revealed in Italian Case," ProPublica, March 31, 2010.