Iranian National Convicted in Conspiracy to Smuggle Nuclear Tech to Tehran

Dhows, fishing boats and cargo ships are seen in the Strait of Hormuz
Dhows, fishing boats and cargo ships are seen in the Strait of Hormuz / Getty Images
November 8, 2018

An Iranian citizen pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal charges he sought to smuggle nuclear technology to Tehran as part of a larger conspiracy to illicitly aid the Islamic Republic's contested nuclear program, according to the Department of Justice.

Arash Sepehri, a 38-year-old Iranian citizen, offered a guilty plea yesterday in a U.S. district count for "his role in a conspiracy to cause the export of controlled goods and technology to Iran, in violation of U.S. Department of Commerce and military controls, as well as in contravention of sanctions imposed against Iran," according to information provided by the Trump administration, which has sought to reimpose a range of nuclear and non-nuclear sanctions on Iran.

"Sepehri pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to conspiracy to unlawfully export U.S. goods to Iran in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, and to defraud the United States," according to the Justice Department.

As an employee and board member of Tajhiz Sanat Company, or TSS, an Iranian company, Sepehri helped organize an international scheme to ship sanctioned good to Iran via the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

"Sepehri and his co-conspirators sought to evade legal controls through a variety of means, including the use of a variety of aliases, United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based front companies, and an intermediary shipping company based in Hong Kong. Payments for the goods were arranged through the UAE," according to court documents.

Additionally, "TSS and other companies involved in the conspiracy were listed by the European Union on May 23, 2011, as entities being sanctioned for their involvement in the procurement of components for the Iranian nuclear program," according to the DOJ. "Through TSS and associated companies, Sepehri and others conspired to obtain high-resolution sonar equipment, data input boards, rugged laptops, acoustic transducers and other controlled technology from the United States without obtaining proper licenses and in violation of economic sanctions."

Sepehri faces a minimum of five years in prison for this federal offense.

Published under: Iran