Iranian National Sentenced for Sending Nuclear Weapon Components to Iran

Mehrdad Ansari sent advanced weapon parts to Islamic regime

Uranium conversion facility outside Isfahan, Iran / Getty Images
September 14, 2021

An Iranian national convicted by a federal jury was sentenced Tuesday for sending the Islamic republic advanced military components used in nuclear weapons and missile guidance systems.

Mehrdad Ansari, a resident of the United Arab Emirates who is originally from Iran, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for circumventing U.S. sanctions on Iran through his distribution of sensitive military matériel. Ansari, who worked alongside Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip and Iranian citizen Mehrdad Foomanie to evade the American sanctions, over a four-year period obtained or tried to obtain more than 105,000 parts valued at more than $2.6 million.

American officials said the sentencing shows the Department of Justice will relentlessly pursue anyone who poses a threat to national security.

"Ansari and his co-conspirators attempted to profit from a far-reaching, extensive scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran," said National Security Division acting assistant attorney general Mark J. Lesko. "They repeatedly lied to numerous U.S. suppliers and illegally obtained very sensitive dual-use items. As demonstrated by this prosecution, DOJ pursues those who threaten U.S. national security, even years after their original crimes."

The sentence comes on the heels of escalating tensions between Iran and the Biden administration. According to experts, Iran may in a month have enough material to build an atomic bomb. Successful Iranian nuclear weapons would likely reset diplomatic talks between the Biden administration and Tehran, which have stalled out in recent months as the president and his team work on another nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.