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Nigeria Court Convicts Iranian of Arms Smuggling

A Nigerian court has sentenced an Iranian national and his Nigerian accomplice to five years in prison over an illegal arms shipment.

Azim Aghajani and Nigerian Usman Abbas Jega were detained in 2010 after authorities in Lagos found 13 shipping containers of weapons declared as construction equipment.

On Monday, a Federal High Court judge convicted the men on four of the five counts against them, but avoided giving them a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The two men have already served more than two years in prison and the time will be counted towards their release.

The case has attracted wide international attention as the shipment would have violated the United Nations embargo on weapons sales.



Authorities say the shipment, which included rocket launchers, grenades, and other explosives, was bound for Gambia, but it is not clear whether that was its final destination.

Aghajani is accused of having links to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards through the Behineh Trading Company, which organized the arms shipment on Iran's behalf.

Both the United States and the United Nations added him to a blacklist last year.

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