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Iranian-American arrested for plot to give US technology to Iran

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice press conference, June 25, 2021. (Department of Justice/Released)
January 18, 2022

An Iranian-American was arrested and charged last week with conspiring to illegally provide the Iranian government with U.S. goods, technology and services in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Kambiz Attar Kashani was arrested in Chicago, Ill., on January 13. Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said Kashani allegedly “orchestrated an elaborate scheme” to obtain U.S. electronic equipment and technology for the Central Bank of Iran, which has been officially identified by the US government as “acting for or on behalf of terrorist organizations.”

The DOJ said Kashani intentionally concealed his intention to ship electronic goods and technology from multiple U.S. technology companies to Iran by falsely claiming that companies in the United Arab Emirates were receiving the goods and would be the “ultimate end users.”

“The defendant allegedly used two United Arab Emirates companies as fronts to procure items from multiple U.S. technology companies, including a company in Brooklyn,” Peace said. “Kashani’s arrest underscores the unrelenting resolve of this Office and the Department of Justice to prosecute those who seek to profit by compromising our national security.”

Peace said Kashani was arrested for “conspiring to deceive US companies…by illegally exporting their highly sophisticated electronic equipment and technology to the Government of Iran.”

“We believe Mr. Kashani profited financially by strengthening the economy of one of the world’s most infamous state sponsors of terrorism, while circumventing critical U.S. laws designed to protect our national security interests,” FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Joseph Bonavolonta added.  “This case is another example of the FBI’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to protect American businesses and stop the illegal export of sensitive information and technology to nations that are hostile to the United States.”

The U.S. government said that the Central Bank of Iran has supported the terrorist organization Lebanese Hizballah and the Quds Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a branch of the Iranian armed forces used by the Iranian government to “direct and implement its global terrorism campaign.”

The Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section is handling the case with Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander A. Solomon and Meredith A. Arfa in charge of the prosecution. Assistance is being provided by Trial Attorney S. Derek Shugert of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section and Assistant United States Attorney Shawn McCarthy of the Northern District of Illinois.