Iranian national caught attempting to smuggle nuke materials out of the US
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 US, the Washington Free Beacon reported citing the Justice Department.
Iranian citizen Behzad Pourghannad 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 US.
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.
The plot to illicitly export the carbon fiber from the US began in 2008 and continued into 2013, according to the Justice Department.
Ali Reza Shokri and Farzin Faridmanesh, the two conspirators, remain at large.
The case is part of a larger effort by the Trump administration and its law enforcement agencies to crack down on Iran’s illicit procurement of sensitive technology and nuclear materials.
Iran recently started enriching uranium beyond a limit established in a 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, a deal from which Trump withdrew. Trump has since intensified economic sanctions on Tehran, and tensions have escalated.
Israel’s spy agency Mossad stole a huge trove of documents containing the Iranian secret nuclear archive from the heart of Tehran in 2018, in one of its most brazen missions to date.