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Iranian national extradited to Texas after allegedly exporting 'military sensitive items' to Iran

Iranian national extradited to Texas after allegedly exporting 'military sensitive items' to Iran
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An Iranian national was extradited to Texas after allegedly exporting “military sensitive items” to Iran between 2007 and 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Merdad Ansari, an Iranian citizen and a resident of the United Arab Emirates, arrived in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday evening, the DOJ said in a statement.  Ansari, 38, faces federal charges in connection with an alleged scheme to give “military sensitive items” to Iran in violation of the Iranian trade embargo.

Ansari and his co-defendant, Mehrdad Foomanie, who remains a fugitive, were charged in June 2012 with conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transactions Regulations (ITR), conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The ITR prohibits the sale of any goods from the U.S. or by a U.S. citizen to Iran.

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The parts the pair allegedly sold or attempted to sell were considered “dual-use” for military and civilian capability and used for systems like nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic counter measures and radar warning and surveillance systems, the DOJ said.

“As alleged, the defendant helped Iran to develop its weapons programs by obtaining military parts in violation of the Iranian Trade Embargo,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement. 

FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs also thanked the government in the former Soviet republic of Georgia for supporting the extradition. 

Foomanie allegedly bought or attempted to buy U.S. items and planned to have them shipped to Iran through his Hong Kong, Chinese and Iranian companies. 

Between Oct. 9, 2007, and June 15, 2011, the defendants received or attempted to receive more than 105,000 parts with an estimated cost of $2,630,800, according to the Justice Department.

Foomanie and Ansari could face up to 45 years in federal prison if convicted on all the charges.

A third co-defendant, Susan Yip, also known as Susan Yeh, who is a citizen of Taiwan, was sentenced to two years in federal prison in October 2012 after pleading guilty to attempting to violate the ITR and helping Foomanie buy items to send to Iran.