Iranian Indicted in L.A. Nuke Case Will Transfer to Texas for Trial

AP/Vahid Salemi

SANTA ANA, California — An indictment hearing was held at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana on Monday for Khosrow Afghahi, one of the five men who have been accused by the U.S. of “allegedly circumventing U.S. sanctions and illegally exporting controlled microelectronics to Iran.” The highly-sensitive technology is used for military-grade systems like surface-to-air and cruise missiles.

Four companies have also been indicted, which brings the case to a total of nine defendants so far.

Afghahi, 71, used the help of a Farsi translator throughout the hearing. His legal team, consisting of Attorneys Michael Kade and Gerson S. Hornand, told Judge Jay C. Gandhi that he had suffered a stroke while visiting his daughter in Iran when she was going through a divorce several years ago.

Judge Gandhi considered the fact that Afghahi’s health was not in top condition but expressed concern that Mr. Afghahi could flee the state or country and decided that he would be held without bail.

Also indicted along with Afghahi are Houston-based company Smart Power Systems Inc. (SPS); Bahram Mechanic, 69, and Tooraj Faridi, 46, both of Houston; Arthur Shyu and the Hosoda Taiwan Limited Corporation in Taiwan; Matin Sadeghi, 54, and Golsad Istanbul Trading Ltd. in Turkey; and the Faratel Corporation, which is co-owned by Mechanic and Afghahi in Iran.

“There are 24 counts against Mechanic and just four counts against Afghaghi, one of which is conspiracy,” Kade told Breitbart News. He said he has worked with several cases similar to this before and that Mechanic was the bigger fish in this indictment.

Inside the courtroom, the federal government, represented by attorney Terrence Mann, who was accompanied by government agent Michael Engallena, said “the government does not deny that Mechanic is a bigger fish, but notes that this has nothing to do with the culpability of the defendant.”

Mechanic and Afghahi are reportedly “co-owners of Iran-based Faratel and its Houston-based sister company SPS.” Faratel is reportedly no longer operative. According to a Department of Justice press release, “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.”

The indictment concerns approximately $24 million worth of technology that was sent to Iran beginning in July of 2010 which the U.S. government alleges has a dual purpose and could potentially be used for nuclear and missile technology systems. The technology reportedly originated in the U.S., then made its way to Taiwan and then to Turkey before arriving at its final destination: Iran.

Iran has continuously said it does not intend to use its nuclear centrifuges to make nuclear weapons, and President Barack Obama has cited a still unseen “fatwa” to support that argument.

Afghahi is currently being held at the city jail in Santa Ana as he awaits transfer to Houston, Texas where he will stand trial. The transfer will likely take place over the next 10 days.

The case will likely receive substantial attention as nuclear talks with Iran are entering their final stages before a deadline at the end of June.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz