Iran General NewsAustrian arms manufacturer sold 800 rifles to Iran

Austrian arms manufacturer sold 800 rifles to Iran

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AFP: The Austrian government authorised the sale of 800 rifles classified as war weapons to Iran for use by that country’s police, the Austrian interior ministry said Wednesday after a local newspaper reported that Washington had tried to stop the deal. AFP

VIENNA – The Austrian government authorised the sale of 800 rifles classified as war weapons to Iran for use by that country’s police, the Austrian interior ministry said Wednesday after a local newspaper reported that Washington had tried to stop the deal.

The Wirtshaftsblatt said the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr-Mannlicher had already begun delivering the 800 “sniper-type” .50 HS Steyr rifles, fitted with a telescope, to Iran.

The daily quoted the head of Steyr-Mannlicher, Wolfgang Fuerlinger, as saying that the United States had put pressure on him as it feared that the rifles could fall into the hands of terrorists in Iran, but “gave no proof to back up their concerns”.

He said the rifles, which have a range of 1,500 metres (1.653 yards) did not classify as anti-tank weaponry.

Interior ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told AFP: “An authorisation, granted last year, was necessary for the exportation of these arms, which are classified as war weapons.”

He added that there was no embargo on selling such arms to Iran.

Gollia said he did not believe that there was any reason to fear that the arms would be obtained by terrorists.

“We asked the Iranians to give us a certificate stating that the end-user of the weapons would be the Iranian police who would use it to protect the country’s borders and to combat drug trafficking.”

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