The U.S. Department of Justice busted a smuggling ring that targeted 105,000 dual-use defense parts for export to Iran.
Iranian national Merdad Ansari, 38, was extradited from the country of Georgia to Texas to face a grand jury indictment for illegally exporting military sensitive items to Iran.
Co-defendant Mehrdad Foomanie (aka Frank Foomanie) remains a fugitive in this case.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers alleged that Ansari helped Iran develop its weapons programs by procuring military parts in direct violation of the Iranian Trade Embargo.
The parts were “dual-use,” meaning they could be used for both military and civilian systems in a variety of systems, such as “nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic countermeasures (radio jamming), and radar warning and surveillance systems,” authorities said.
Federal rules ban the exportation, sale or supply of goods or technology to Iran from the U.S.
From October, 2007 through June, 2011 the defendants tried to get 105,000 parts with an estimated value of $2,630,800 with more than 1,250 transactions.
They conducted 599 transactions with a total of 63 different U.S. companies where they did not disclose that the parts were being shipped to Iran.
The defendants never applied nor received a license from the U.S. Dept. of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) or a Dept of Commerce export license that would have allowed them to ship any of the items to the Republic of Iran.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transactions Regulations ( ITR) and 20 years for money laundering. They face up to five years for the conspiracy to commit mail fraud.