A U.S. and Iranian citizen has been sentenced to 30 months in prison by a federal court in Brooklyn after smuggling banned technology into Iran through sham companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In a statement on the decision, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said(opens in a new window) Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, conspired to illegally export US goods and technology to end users in Iran, which included the country’s central bank.
According to the DOJ, between 2019 and 2021, Kashani and his accomplices used two fictitious companies in the UAE to secure electronics and technology from U.S. companies to clients that included the Central Bank of Iran, an agency that the U.S. government believes have “materially supported” listed terrorist organizations in the Middle East.
The technology provided and the goods in question included(opens in a new window) “six power supplies; two signatures of a proprietary computer software program, several fixed attenuators, two signatures of operating software, and several storage systems.”
In a commentary on the sentencing, Alan E. Kohler Jr, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division said, “This is a sobering reminder that the illegal export of material is not an abstract economic concern – it is a crime with far-reaching impact. directly to the safety of the American people.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York said Kashani’s scheme to sell U.S. technology to Iran “undermines U.S. foreign policy and national security interests and warrants a substantial prison sentence for dissuade others”.
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The DOJ noted, “Kashani and his co-conspirators intentionally hid from US companies that they intended to ship the items to Iran, falsely claiming that UAE companies would be the ultimate end users. By providing the Central Bank of Iran and other end-users in Iran with state-of-the-art, sophisticated electronic equipment and software from the US, Kashani and his co-conspirators have enabled the Iranian banking system to operate more efficiently, effectively and securely.”
The United States designated Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984. In recent months, however, the US government has eased restrictions(opens in a new window) about US tech companies offering their services to Iranians after protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained at a police station for not wearing the hijab according to government standards.
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