AFP: The US has charged eight people and eight companies with illegally exporting to Iran US products that can be used to make bombs and for military purposes, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US has charged eight people and eight companies with illegally exporting to Iran US products that can be used to make bombs and for military purposes, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Under 13 charges, the 16 were accused of purchasing and exporting to Iran "dual use" commodities with military applications, such as parts used in improvised explosive devices.
The charges follow a two-year inter-governmental probe that studied the use of US-made products in explosive devices used against US coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the department said in its statement.
"Today's indictment details the global reach of Iranian procurement networks and underscores … the importance of keeping sensitive US technology out of their grasp," said Patrick Rowan, the department's assistant attorney general.
According to the indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Florida Wednesday, the 16 defendants, mostly of Iranian descent are based in the US, Britain, Germany, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
If convicted they face between five to 20 years in prison.
The exported items included "120 field-programmable gate array, more than 5,000 integrated circuits of varying types, approximately 345 Global positioning system (GPS) and 12,000 microchip brand micro controllers," the statement said.
"All those items have potential military applications, including as components in the construction of improvised explosive devices."
IEDs have become a deadly weapon used by insurgents in Iraq against US troops. Such devices which are buried in the ground and explode as vehicles pass by, are now the main cause of death of US soldiers in Iraq.
Separately on Wednesday, the US imposed sanctions on six Iranian military firms owned or controlled by groups supplying equipment for Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, the Treasury said in a statement.
"Iran attempts to shield its procurement activities behind a maze of entities, essentially hoodwinking those still doing business with Iran," Treasury under secretary Stuart Levy said in the statement.
The groups include Iran Electronics Industries, Shiraz Electronics Industries, Iran Communications Industries, Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company, Farasakht Industries and Armament Industries Group.