x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Americans charged for trading with Iran

Three men in the United States have been charged with illegally shipping sensitive technology to Iran.

Three men in the United States have been charged with illegally shipping sensitive technology to Iran in violation of federal trade laws, justice officials said on Wednesday. A federal court has accused two men, Jiraiir Avanessian, 56, of Los Angeles and Iranian national Farhoud Masoumian, 42, of a conspiracy. The charge includes allegations of smuggling, money laundering and other crimes. Mr Avanessian, who was born in Iran, was arrested on Monday at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Masoumian.

A third man, Amirhossein Sairafi, was arrested earlier this week in Frankfurt, Germany by law enforcement authorities acting on a provisional arrest warrant from the US. According to a federal indictment and criminal complaint, Mr Avanessian is the owner and operator of California-based XVAC. Mr Avanessian allegedly corresponded with Mr Masoumian and Mr Sairafi via e-mail for at least two years to arrange the export of high-value vacuum pumps and related equipment to Iran.

According to US law, individuals are prohibited from exporting such technology to Iran without a license. Law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times the technology in the case could possibly be used for "development of nuclear capabilities." If convicted on all counts, Mr Avanessian and Mr Masoumian will face statutory maximum sentences of 615 years and 525 in federal prison, respectively, according to the US Justice Department.

* AFP