This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
An Iranian national arrived in Texas on March 14 from Georgia as part of an extradition procedure for allegedly exporting sensitive military equipment from the United States to Iran, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release on March 17.
Merdad Ansari, 38, arrived in San Antonio to face federal charges “in connection with a scheme to obtain military sensitive parts for Iran in violation of the Iranian Trade Embargo,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers and other officials.
The dual-use parts could be used in such systems as “nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic countermeasures, and radar warning and surveillance systems,” the Justice Department said.
Christopher Combs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) San Antonio division special agent in charge, also thanked the Georgian government for its “unwavering support” in pursuing leads that led to Ansari’s extradition.
The suspect and his co-defendant, Mehrdad Foomanie, also from Iran, were charged in June 2012 “with conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR), conspiracy to launder money, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.”
A third defendant, Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip, was sentenced to two years in a federal prison in October 2012 after pleading guilty to conspiring to violate the ITR.
The defendants allegedly obtained or attempted to obtain from companies worldwide more than 105,000 parts valued at about $2.6 million involving more than 1,250 transactions from October 9, 2007, to June 15, 2011.
While conducting 599 transactions with 63 different U.S. companies, they allegedly never notified them these parts were being shipped to Iran or obtained the required U.S. government license to ship the parts to Iran.
If found guilty, Foomani and Ansari face up to 20 years in federal prison.