AFP: US authorities have charged an Iranian man with exporting specialized metals to his homeland where firms under US sanction could use them in nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US authorities have charged an Iranian man with exporting specialized metals to his homeland where firms under US sanction could use them in nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
Milad Jafari, 36, was indicted on 11 charges related to his “illegally exporting and attempting to export specialized metals from the United States through companies in Turkey to several entities in Iran, including some entities that have been sanctioned for involvement in ballistic missile activities,” the department said in a statement.
It said the federal indictment, which also seeks forfeiture of $177,000 dollars connected to the crimes, was returned by a grand jury in July last year and unsealed Tuesday in Washington.
Jafari, 36, remains at large and is believed to be in Iran, the Justice Department said. If convicted on all charges he faces an aggregate of 155 years in prison.
US authorities detailed data that showed Jafari and associates operated “a procurement network that provides direct support to Iran’s missile program by securing metal products, including steel and aluminum alloys, for subordinates of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).”
From 2004 to 2007 Jafari allegedly conspired to export the goods to Iran in violation of a US embargo, including to Sanam Industrial Group, a firm “sanctioned by the United States and United Nations for involvement in nuclear and ballistic missile activities,” the department said.
“The allegations in the indictment unsealed today shed light on the reach of Iran’s illegal procurement networks and the importance of keeping US materials from being exploited for Iran’s weapons development,” David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in the statement.
The indictment comes as diplomats and analysts query whether fresh sanctions should be applied by the West over Iran’s disputed nuclear drive, after the latest talks between world powers collapsed in Istanbul earlier this month.
The West suspects Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, an accusation denied by the Islamic republic which says its program is for peaceful use of nuclear power.