US Announces Charges for Attempts to Help Iranian Weapons Program

A U.S. federal court unsealed indictments Tuesday charging Iranian and Turkish defendants with conspiring to procure and export U.S. technology to support Iran’s weapons programs. 

The U.S. Justice Department said that between 2012-2013 Amanallah Paidar, of Iran, and Murat Bükey, of Turkey, sent a device used to test fuel cells from the United States through Turkey, and tried to obtain a bio-detection system that can be used in the research and use of weapons of mass destruction. 

Bükey was sentenced Monday to 28 months in prison after being extradited from Spain to the United States in July 2022 and pleading guilty to conspiracy charges in December. Paidar is still at large, the Justice Department said. 

The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday it added both Bükey and Paidar to its sanctions list. 

“Mr. Bükey acted on behalf of a larger network attempting to deliver sensitive U.S. technology into the hands of a hostile nation,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon said in a statement.  “If we allow such networks to meet with success, they could potentially put the safety of every American at risk.” 

In another indictment unsealed Tuesday, the Justice Department said Iranians Agshar Mahmoudi and Bahram Mahmoudi Mahmoud Alilou, and Shahin Golshani of the United Arab Emirates, used their companies to conspire to obtain “a high-speed camera that has known nuclear and ballistic missile testing applications, a nose landing gear assembly for an F-5 fighter jet, and a meteorological sensor system.” 

All three of those defendants are still at large, the Justice Department said. 

“The sentencing of Murat Bükey and the charging of four others with conspiring to illegally export technologies and goods to Iran demonstrates our determination to hold those who attempt to circumvent U.S. export laws and sanctions accountable,” FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg said in a statement. “Export controls exist to protect the security of the United States and its people, and we will aggressively investigate those who threaten our national security by violating these laws. We are grateful to our international partners for their assistance in dismantling this scheme and bringing the defendant to justice.” 

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