Five individuals and four companies, including Iranian government and Centrifuge Technology company contractors, have been indicted for illegally exporting technology frequently used in military systems such as surface-air and cruise missiles to Iran. This technology is “frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including surface-air and cruise missiles,” according to the Department of Justice. $24 million worth of technology was allegedly sent to Iran starting in July 2010.
“The nine defendants charged in the indictment allegedly circumvented U.S. sanctions and illegally exported controlled microelectronics to Iran,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin. The elaborate path detailed in the indictment follows the technology on a route from the U.S. to Taiwan, then to Turkey and finally to Iran.
In a Friday Department of Justice (DOJ) release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas details the indictment and those charged, which include: Houston-based Smart Power Systems Inc. (SPS); Bahram Mechanic, 69, and Tooraj Faridi, 46, of Houston; Khosrow Afghahi, 71, of Los Angeles; and Faratel Corporation, co-owned by Mechanic and Afghahi in Iran. These individuals are described as “members of an Iranian procurement network operating in the United States.”
Mechanic and Afghahi are described in the indictment as “co-owners of Iran-based Faratel and its Houston-based sister company SPS.” The DOJ release continues: “Faratel designs and builds uninterruptible power supplies for various Iranian entities, including Iranian government agencies such as the Iranian Ministry of Defense, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the Iranian Centrifuge Technology Company, according to the charges.”
Today’s unsealed indictment alleges, according to the release:
Between approximately July 2010 and the present, Mechanic and the others engaged in a conspiracy to obtain various commodities, including controlled U.S.-origin microelectronics. They then allegedly exported these to Iran, while carefully evading the government licensing system set up to control such exports. The microelectronics shipped to Iran allegedly included microcontrollers and digital signal processors. According to the indictment, these commodities have various applications, and are frequently used in a wide range of military systems, including surface-air and cruise missiles. Between July 2010 and the present, Mechanic’s network allegedly sent at least $24 million worth of commodities to Iran.
“The proliferation of sensitive U.S. technologies to Iran and the direct support to their military and weapons programs remains a clear threat to U.S. national security,” said Assistant Director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division Randall Coleman.
Seven foreign nationals and companies are also being added to the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List in conjunction with the indictment. These individuals and companies allegedly “received, transshipped or otherwise facilitated the illegal export of controlled commodities by the defendants,” according to the DOJ release. “Those persons present a greater risk of diversion to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, terrorism or other activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.”
Also charged as part of the scheme are Arthur Shyu and the Hosoda Taiwan Limited Corporation in Taiwan; Matin Sadeghi, 54, and Golsad Istanbul Trading Ltd. in Turkey.
Mechanic and Faridi are scheduled for a detention hearing Tuesday, April 21 at 10 a.m. Afghahi was taken into custody Friday and is expected to appear in the Central District of California according to the DOJ release. Sadeghi and Shya remain at large and are believed to be out of the country.
The release states, “Anyone with information is asked to contact the nearest embassy or local office of the FBI. They may also contact the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000.”
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