Category Archives: Iran

October 9, 2017

Second Circuit Upholds Sentence for Attempt to Export F-35 Technology to Iran

by Steven Pelak,  Jason Prince and Gwen Green

On October 5, 2017, the Second Circuit upheld the over 8 years sentence of Mozaffar Khazaee who pleaded guilty in February 2015 to violating the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. § 2778 (the “AECA”) by attempting to transfer to Iran proprietary, trade secret and export controlled material relating to the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program.  Mr. Khazaee allegedly stole the materials from U.S. defense contractors where he had formerly worked, and many of the documents were prominently labeled as “Export-Controlled” and stamped with “ITAR-controlled” warnings.

In November 2015, we published a blog post noting the surprise of many that the U.S. Government originally charged and indicted Mr. Khazaee solely with the federal offense of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property (“ITSP”) rather than a violation of the AECA and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”).   Mr. Khazaee pleaded guilty on February 25, 2015 via a “Substitute Information” to one count of the unlawful export of technical data from the United States in violation of the AECA.  On October 23, 2015, Mr. Khazaee was sentenced to 97 months in prison and ordered to pay $50,000 in fines for violating the AECA. Continue reading

May 12, 2017

Singaporean National Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison for Scheme Involving Illegal Exports to Iran

by Gwen Green

A Singaporean national accused of taking part in a conspiracy to illegally export thousands of radio frequency modules from the U.S. to Iran was sentenced on April 27, 2017 to 40 months in prison.  Lim Yong Nam, also known as Steven Lim, was indicted in June 2010 for conspiring to illegally export U.S. made radio frequency modules through Singapore to Iran.  At least 14 of the illegally exported radio frequency modules were later found in unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement.

Lim was extradited to the U.S. in 2016 after being detained in Indonesia since October 2014 as he contested the U.S. request for extradition.  Lim pleaded guilty on December 15, 2016 to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by dishonest means.  Continue reading

March 8, 2017

First Circuit Affirms Lengthy Sentence of Chinese National Who Provided U.S. Goods to Iranian Nuclear Program

by Gwen Green and Steven Pelak

On March 1, 2017, the First Circuit affirmed the nine-year sentence of Sihai Cheng, a Chinese national who pleaded guilty for his role in supplying over 1,000 pressure transducers to Iran’s nuclear program.

In December 2015, Cheng pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to commit export violations and smuggle goods from the United States to Iran and four counts of illegally exporting U.S. manufactured pressure transducers to Iran.  On January 27, 2016, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris departed upward from the Sentencing Guidelines and imposed a nine-year sentence, which is significantly beyond the otherwise applicable Guideline range.  It should be noted that Chief Judge Saris has served as the Chairperson of the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Continue reading