Dual Citizen Pleads Guilty to Illegally Shipping US Technology to Iran

Dual Citizen Pleads Guilty to Illegally Shipping US Technology to Iran
A sign for the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons is displayed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on July 6, 2020. (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)

An Iranian–American dual citizen pleaded guilty on June 28 to conspiring to illegally export U.S. goods, technology, and services to the Islamic Republic, officials said.

Kambiz Attar Kashani violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by shipping goods and technology to Iran without obtaining legal authorization from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), according to court documents.

The 44-year-old man and his co-conspirators used two United Arab Emirates (UAE) companies to evade U.S. export laws “by procuring electronic goods, technology, and services from U.S. technology companies for end-users in Iran, including the Government of Iran,” prosecutors alleged.

“Technology illegally transferred to Iran from the United States could be used by terrorists, which is why the FBI and its partners devote significant resources to these investigations,” Alan Kohler Jr., the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, said in a January statement that announced Kashani’s arrest.

The Department of Justice said on Tuesday that Kashani, who was arrested in Chicago, is facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and has already agreed to pay a $50,000 fine, in addition to any forfeiture owed.

Prosecutors allege that Kashani acted under the direction of an arm of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which has been classified by OFAC as a specially designated national, signifying the bank is acting for, or on behalf of, known terrorist organizations.

Matthew G. Olsen, an assistant attorney of the DOJ’s national security division, said Kashani “repeatedly lied” to a number of American companies to “conceal his intention to ship items to Iran,” which allowed him to illegally obtain information technology for the CBI and other Iranian entities.

Joseph R. Bonavolanta, a special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Boston field office, said officials believe Kashani gained financially by “strengthening the economy of one of the world’s most infamous state sponsors of terrorism” while also bypassing crucial laws designed to protect U.S. security interests.

According to the U.S. government, the CBI has assisted and sponsored the Lebanon-based Shia terrorist group “Lebanese Hizballah” and the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps by providing financial, material, or technological support.

The DOJ said Kashani and his co-conspirators procured electronic goods and technology from numerous U.S. companies, including businesses located in Brooklyn and Massachusetts, between February 2019 and June 2021.

“Kashani and his co-conspirators intentionally concealed from the U.S. companies that they intended to ship the items to Iran, falsely claiming that the UAE front companies would be the ultimate end-users,” prosecutors said.

The DOJ did not name Kashani’s accomplices.