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Three Iranians Caught Smuggling “Many Tons” Of Nuke-Related Material Out Of US

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

A major case involving three Iranian citizens who for years allegedly smuggled nuclear related materials into Iran from a US broker has been revealed this week in a New York federal court.

The scheme involved illegally exporting “many tons” of carbon fiber out of the United States between 2008 and 2013, which federal prosecutors say violated existing US sanctions and a UN embargo, given the direct military and nuclear use capability of the substance.

One of the three accused, Behzad Pourghannad, was successfully extradited from Germany but the other two, Ali Reza Shokri and Farzin Faridmanesh, remain at large. The conspiracy involved an unidentified broker shipping the banned substance out of the US to Iran via third parties in Europe and the UAE, while paperwork was fabricated to circumvent US export laws.

Three Iranians Caught Smuggling "Many Tons" Of Nuke-Related Material Out Of US

Despite the material being under UN embargo, Iran began its own carbon fiber production line as early as 2011. Image source: AP/ISNA

In a statement, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman described that, “Carbon fiber has many aerospace and defense applications, and is strictly controlled to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Pourghannad and his co-defendants allegedly went to great lengths to circumvent these controls and the United States’ export laws. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to protect our nation’s assets and protect our national security.”

And a statement published to the Department of Justice website noted, “Pourghannad is alleged to have sought to procure for Iran large amounts of carbon fiber — a commodity that can be used in the enrichment of uranium.” The DOJ and FBI further described the conspiracy as seeking to assist “Iran’s destabilizing efforts and make Americans less safe.”

An FBI counterintelligence division chief added, “Iran remains determined to acquire U.S. technology with military applications, and the FBI is just as determined to stop such illegal activity,” according to NBC.

The indictment doesn’t reveal precisely how much carbon fiber is believed to have made it to Iran, and the American-based source of the UN embargoed material is not named, and it’s further unclear if the source was consciously involved in trying to evade sanctions on Iran. The men each face multiple 20-year sentences, but it’s unknown if law enforcement are close to apprehending two of the men who remain on the run.

Iran actually successfully established its own carbon fiber production facility starting in 2011, according to reports, likely now making it less urgent to procure it abroad in places like the United States or Europe.

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  • Rob

    One day Iran will be Asian tiger while America and EU will be still busy complaining that Iran wearing black dress, eating meat, playing games or educate nation etc etc. There is no limit of idiotic thinking of American morons.

    • cechas vodobenikov

      PLEASE desist; suggesting that amerikans r morons is a compliment—the best one can say was articulated by Arthur Koestler, who compared amerikans to 5th century Romans: “a similarly contactless society populated by automatons…a similarly soulless, politically corrupt, everybody for them selves society”

      • klove and light

        correct….the only big difference is the danger that Comes with the Implosion of such a empire……. the Romans had no nuclear weapons….and everytime an empire implodes…collateral Damage is on the horizon…

  • chris chuba

    Good God. I dred how this will be reported by the Simians on FOX. A CIA plant story begging to be misinterpreted. The dollar bill in my pocked is ‘nuclear related’ because I could use it in a plot to buy illegal nuclear materials to build weapons.

  • verner

    fake news fake news and dunny the dunce will salivate from here to next christmas!

  • FreePalestine_BDS

    Carbon fiber has many different uses. So this is like like the aluminium pipes for Saddam’s WMD all over again.

    But real theft of nuclear material by the vile antisemitic 3rd Reich-2.0, the US’s Middle East master, from the US itself was never officially investigated, never mind people indicted. What were those words again? Ah yes, double standards, hypocrisy.