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An Iranian national was caught by the Trump administration attempting to smuggle materials that can be used to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, out of the U.S., according to the Justice Department.
Behzad Pourghannad allegedly attempted to smuggle carbon fiber out of America and ship it to Tehran. Pourghannad was arrested in May 2017 in Germany and later extradited to the U.S. He arrived in America on Monday. On Tuesday, the Justice Department unsealed a three-count indictment charging Pourghannad and two others in the plot to export the sensitive nuclear materials.
Iran - Caught - Smuggling - Nuke - Materials
Iran Caught Smuggling Nuke Materials Out of U.S.
Ali Reza Shokri and Farzin Faridmanesh, the two alleged conspirators, remain at large.
Pourghannad - Iran - Amounts - Carbon - Fiber—a
"Pourghannad is alleged to have sought to procure for Iran large amounts of carbon fiber—a commodity that can be used in the enrichment of uranium," Assistant Attorney General Demers said in a statement. "U.S. sanctions exist to prevent behavior, like this, which endangers our country, and the Department is committed to vigorously enforcing them. Pourghannad and others who would attempt to thwart these laws need to know that their actions, which benefit Iran’s destabilizing efforts and make Americans less safe, will not go unpunished."
The carbon fiber material could be used by Iran to fuel its ongoing enrichment of uranium, which has emerged as a flashpoint in the latest standoff between the Trump administration and Iran. Following a bevy of new sanctions by the U.S., Iran publicly breached restrictions on the amount of enriched uranium it can stockpile inside the country.
Carbon - Fiber - Aerospace - Defense - Applications
"Carbon fiber has many aerospace and defense applications, and is strictly controlled to ensure that it doesn't fall into the wrong hands," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. "Pourghannad and his co-defendants allegedly went to great lengths to circumvent these controls and the United States'...
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