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Ahmadinejad pictured with Italians arrested for smuggling arms

Italian police arrested four people on Tuesday who are suspected of smuggling weapons into Iran and Libya, violating international embargos

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Italian police arrested four people on Tuesday who are suspected of smuggling weapons into Iran and Libya, violating international embargos, Italian media reported.

Three of those who were arrested were Italian nationals, couple Mario Di Leva and Annamaria Fontana, and Andrea Pardi, as well as Libyan national Mohamud Ali Shaswish.

The arrested Italian nationals previously appeared in a picture with the former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was in office from 2005 to 2013.

The group were accused of smuggling air ambulances and weapons such as surface-to-air missiles, assault rifles and anti-tank missiles into Iran and Libya between 2011 and 2015. The air ambulances were converted into military helicopters, Italian daily La Repubblica reported.

It is also believed that the three Italians were also involved in another investigation on arms trafficking and recruitment of mercenaries between Italy and Somalia.

The military equipment was manufactured in the ex-Soviet bloc and shipped from third countries, including Ukraine and Tunisia, the police said told Reuters news agency.