Murdered Iranian businessman was arms dealer

The town of Riace in the southern Italian region of Calabria, Nov. 22, 2013. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 October 2020

Murdered Iranian businessman was arms dealer

  • Said Ansary Firouz was an international arms dealer with ties to the Calabrian mafia, Russian arms traffickers and the Iranian regime
  • Police said the killer, Foloty Kave, 47, was a fellow Iranian and a former employee – Il Messaggero reported that Kave killed himself after shooting Firouz

ROME: An Iranian businessman shot dead near Rome last week, reportedly in a dispute over money, was an international arms dealer with ties to the Calabrian mafia, Russian arms traffickers and the Iranian regime, Italian police confirmed.

According to court papers published by Il Messaggero newspaper, Said Ansary Firouz, 68, ran a lucrative business selling and renting vintage cars to celebrities and football players.

He was also an arms dealer who procured military items for Tehran and had been under investigation for the last three years.

The son of an ambassador to Italy at the time of the shah in the 1970s, Firouz was shot three times last week in the chest at his office in Formello, on the outskirts of Rome not far from the AS Roma football club training facilities.

Police said the killer, Foloty Kave, 47, was a fellow Iranian and a former employee. Il Messaggero reported that Kave killed himself after shooting Firouz.

A few days before he was murdered, Firouz and nine other suspects had received notification of the conclusion of an investigation into them for alleged illegal arms dealing.

Il Messaggero reported that in 2016 Firouz met in London with Safarian Nasab Esmail, who is under investigation in Rome for international terrorism.

A source in the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police, told Arab News that Firouz “was often present at negotiations for the purchase of war weapons.”

The anti-terrorism section of the Carabinieri last year stopped a weapons sale that Firouz had tried to set up between representatives of the Iranian regime and two consortiums of Italian arms dealers, despite the UN arms embargo against Iran at the time.

The sale, which included drones, machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles and precision rifles, was worth more than €300 million ($354.7 million).


Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

Updated 25 November 2020

Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

  • The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz

CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically.

Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz and Shadow Puppets, said the festival is part of the initiative to preserve the Egyptian aragouz, after it was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as one of the most important Egyptian artistic elements. He said that he wants the Egyptian art of aragouz to reach the world because it is an ancient Egyptian art.

The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz.

The festival opened with a tribute to the great Egyptian creator Abu Al-Saud Al-Abyari in a reading of his story “Aragouz, Author and Idea,” which he published in 1953. Al-Aragouz was an important source of creativity for Al-Abyari.

The reading was followed by entries exploring how the art of aragouz shaped Egyptian comedy in the twentieth century.

The day closed with puppet performances of “The social media aragouz,” which reflected the impact of social media, directed by Ali Abu Zeid, and “The aragouz in the city,” directed by Nabil Bahgat.

On the second day, Reem Heggab will honor her father the late Egyptian poet Said Heggab, reciting one of his poems on the aragouz. This will be followed by two aragouz shows, “The Take Away,” directed by Mahmoud Sayed Hanafi, and “Aragouz, the Land of Myths.”

On Thursday, the theater department of the University of Alexandria will celebrate the aragouz with a lecture by Hany Abou El-Hassan, the head of the department, a workshop and a performance titled “Lorca and the aragouz,” directed by Nabil Bahgat and presented by the Wamda Troupe.

The performance honors the creativity of the Spanish poet and innovator Federico García Lorca, and will be held in the presence of the Spanish cultural attache.

The fourth day of the festival will honor the poet Fouad Haddad, whose son Amin Haddad will recite several poems from his father’s book of poetry entitiled Al-Aragouz. The poetry reading will be followed by a discussion.

Then there will be performances of “Aragouz Al Sima,” directed by Mustafa Al-Sabbagh, and “Al-Aragouz in Danger,” which deals with the greatest challenges facing the art of aragouz.

On the last day, the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University and the Department of Theater Sciences’ troupe will hold an open seminar with the department’s students to discuss ways to preserve the Egyptian aragouz.