An attempt to illegally ship a U.S.-made drill to Iran nets a $300,000 civil penalty and an export denial from the Bureau of Industry and Security.
Two executives of an Iranian auto parts manufacturing operation reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for their alleged role in a scheme to illegally ship a micro-drill press to Iran without applying for the required export control licenses.
Pouran Aazad and Sadr Emad-Vaez, who resided in Los Altos Hills, Calif., as naturalized U.S. citizens and operated auto parts manufacturer Ghareh Sabz Co. in Tehran, agreed to pay a $300,000 civil penalty to U.S. authorities. In addition to being placed on the BIS Denied Persons list, both individuals are precluded from exporting or benefiting in any way from transactions involving items exported or to be exported from the U.S. that are subject to U.S. export regulations for the next 10 years.
Aazad served as Ghareh Sabz’s chief financial officer, while Emad-Vaez was CEO. According to BIS, the two began conspiring to obtain the $15,199 drill from the U.S. manufacturer in November 2012, even acknowledging that their Iran-based company could not receive the item directly and requested that it be shipped to the United Arab Emirates, where it would then be transshipped to Iran.
Their attempt to carry out the export was a violation of the U.S. government’s Iran Transactions and Sanctions Regulations.
BIS, which was tipped off to the transaction, stopped the shipment on April 26, 2013, before it could be loaded onto a plane at San Francisco International Airport.
On April 19, 2018, Aazad and Emad-Vaez, along with Hassan Ali Moshir-Fatemi, an engineer with Ghareh Sabz, were indicted and appeared in a federal court in California for violating U.S. export control laws.
Commerce, State and Treasury departments agencies in charge of U.S. export control laws are investigating numerous cases involving illicit export activity to Iran.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced the extradition of Iranian national Behzad Pourghannad from Germany, where he was recently arrested, to the U.S., where he, along with Ali Reza Shokri and Farzin Faridmanesh, face charges in a New York district court for their alleged efforts to procure carbon fiber for export to Iran. Carbon fiber is a component used in the process to enrich uranium.