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French court to rule on extradition of Iranian engineer to US

Sardar Hossein Salami & Sardar Mohammad Bagheri & Sardar Mohammad pakpour in Great Prophet Wargame in April 2016. (Tasnim News Agency/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An appeals court in France is set to rule on the extradition of an Iranian engineer to the United States.

Jalal Rohollahnejad was detained under a U.S. extradition warrant at the airport in the southern French city of Nice on February 2.

The 41-year-old had arrived in Nice from Tehran via Moscow, having obtained a French working visa.

According to court officials, U.S. authorities suspect Rohollahnejad was involved in an attempt to export sensitive industrial equipment, including microwave systems and anti-drone systems, to Iran via the United Arab Emirates.

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U.S. authorities say the equipment could be turned into weapons, officials said.

Rohollahnejad is suspected of working for Rayan Roshd Afszar, an Iran-based company blacklisted by the United States that is linked to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which Washington has designated as a terrorist organization.

Rohollahnejad’s lawyers have said the U.S. extradition request is “political.”

Already tense, relations between Tehran and Washington have worsened since 2018, when the United States pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran that curbed Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling economic sanctions.