Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Iran 'obtained German guidance gear for drones'

Iran has obtained German guidance gear for its drones, a prosecutor disclosed in Dusseldorf Monday, just hours after the revelation that Britain had supplied night-vision equipment to Iran which ended up in the hands of Hezbollah fighters.

Johannes Mocken, the prosecutor in Dusseldorf, said Tehran had obtained the global positioning systems (GPS) through Iranian merchants living in Germany. READ MORE

The delivery was first reported by a German television current-affairs programme, Fakt, which said seven German-made systems were exported but German authorities managed to stop three more.

The systems use signals from satellites to help fly unmanned aircraft. Hezbollah deployed several drones of unknown origin in its recent month of fighting with Israel.

"We have to assume that the persons under investigation either knew perfectly well or knowingly made no effort to prevent these GPS systems reaching Iran's military drone programme," Mocken said.

Fakt quoted sources saying Hezbollah had deployed the drones against Israel and might deploy them against German Navy ships that are likely to be sent to the Lebanese coast if a peacekeeping mission is approved.

British reports Monday said Israel has complained at finding night-vision gear stamped "Made in Britain" in Hezbollah command bunkers in southern Lebanon. Britain officially sold the 250 night-vision systems to Iran in 2003 for use against drug smugglers.