Dual US-Iranian Citizen Charged in ‘Elaborate Scheme’ to Send Electronic Tech to Iran

Federal prosecutors have indicted a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, accusing him of involvement in a plot to illegally transfer high-tech electronics to a declared enemy of the United States.

A federal court on Friday indicted Qambiz Attar Kashani with conspiring between February 2019 and June 2021 to evade restrictions on trade with Iran, which is under ongoing US and international sanctions.

The complaint against Kashani, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, alleges that he was involved in an “artistic scheme” involving companies based in the United Arab Emirates and Iran. These companies deliberately sought to deliver products to the Central Bank of Iran that included subscriptions to proprietary software, fixed attenuators, power supplies and storage systems, the complaint said.

Iran flag
An Iranian-American dual national was indicted on Friday, accused of attempting to illegally bring computers into the country. Above, Iran’s flag appears outside the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.
Thomas Kronsteiner / Getty Images

“We believe that Mr. Kashani has benefited financially by boosting the economy of one of the world’s most notorious state sponsors of terrorism, while circumventing critical US laws designed to protect our national security interests,” said FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta. statment.

The Central Bank of Iran is the official bank of the country’s Islamic government. The US government has designated it as a government entity that assists terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The main driver of the sanctions was Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. While the country’s leadership denied it was seeking a nuclear weapon, it continued to enrich uranium while building its conventional arsenal.

The complaint alleged that Kashani had roles in two unnamed companies in the United Arab Emirates that he used to purchase goods from American companies and export them to Iran. The complaint states that he and others suspected of the scheme did not secure the necessary export licenses and told US authorities that the end-users of the products would be based in the UAE.

The complaint points to emails and invoices among the evidence of illegal shipments.

The shipping documents do not name the US companies that Kashani tried to deceive into buying the technology. The companies are headquartered in locations including New York, Massachusetts, Texas and North Carolina. Among their products are “software that allows large organizations to develop and deploy proprietary applications for the internal use of their employees,” open source products, cloud infrastructure, as well as radio frequency equipment and microwaves.

Kashani was arrested Thursday in Chicago and appeared in court for the first time the next day, according to prosecutors. The government’s case is handled by the bureau’s National Security and Cybercrime Division.

Court records accessed on Friday evening do not show Kashani being represented by a lawyer and he did not provide a response to the complaint.

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