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. Two Iranians arrested in US-Austria sting operation
WASHINGTON (AFP) Dec 03, 2004
US and Austrian authorities detained two Iranians in a joint operation to thwart an attempt by the Islamic republic to acquire advanced night vision equipment, US officials announced Friday.

Mahmoud Seif and Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan were arrested in Vienna after a meeting, in which they took possession of a US helmet-mounted Generation III military night vision system that they intended to illegally export to Iran, the officials said.

The Department of Homeland Security did not specify when the arrests took place or where the Iranians are now, but it said the suspects had arrived in Vienna to pick up their first shipment on November 30.

"Sophisticated night vision systems allow US troops to 'own the night,' giving them a key advantage over their opponents during night-time combat," Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Michael Garcia said in a statement.

"In the wrong hands, these night vision systems pose a threat to our troops around the world."

The arrests capped a more than two-year investigation that began with a tip received by US officials in Florida that a Tehran-based individual was attempting to purchase night vision systems in the United States.

The individual was seeking to buy up to 3,000 night vision units for use by military infantry. Arrangements were eventually made to acquire the equipment through Austria.

Garcia thanked Austrian authorities for their cooperation.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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