Case Study - Yadegari Sentenced to 20 Months Plus Time Served ; Worked for Procurement Ring that Supplied Iran’s Enrichment Program

by Andrea Stricker

August 2, 2010

On July 30, the Ontario Court of Justice in Canada sentenced Mahmoud Yadegari, 37, to twenty months in prison for illegally attempting to export equipment to an entity working to supply Iran’s uranium enrichment program. (See the judge’s reasons for judgment here; reasons for the sentence are not yet available). Yadegari’s pre-sentence period spent in jail, 15.5 months, counts double toward his sentence, totaling an overall sentence of four years and three months. Yadegari was found guilty on July 6 of nine counts relating to attempted exports between 2008 and 2009 of pressure transducers, equipment that can be used to measure the gas pressure of uranium hexafluoride inside centrifuge cascades. He was arrested in April 2009 after authorities caught him attempting to ship two pressure transducers out of Canada to Iran via Dubai.

Far Flung Network Supplied Iran’s Enrichment Program

A new investigative report by Maclean’s revealed that the Iran-based man who Yadegari worked for, Nima Tabari, was co-director of a massive procurement network aimed at acquiring dual-use goods for Kalaye Electric Company, which itself is directed by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and listed in United Nations Security Council resolutions as an entity involved in illicit procurement for Iran’s nuclear program. The Kalaye Electric facility in Tehran was Iran’s gas centrifuge research and development facility before it was moved to Natanz. Maclean’s reported that TSI Company, co-operated by Tabari and the company which would have received goods sent by Yadegari via Dubai, is a front company of Kalaye Electric. TSI Co. openly claims that it imports, among other goods, equipment for nuclear uses. Furthermore, Tabari’s partner at TSI Company, Sahab Noormofidi, operates two other companies which have the same address and phone number as TSI Co. One of these, Karanir Sanat Co., claims alternately to be a food manufacturer and an engineering company that imports valves. The other company, Moshever Sanat Moaser, claims to be an engineering firm that deals in alloys and industrial equipment. Moaser has also been implicated in a pressure transducer smuggling scheme involving Swiss, Chinese, and Taiwanese companies. According to the Maclean report, TSI Co. and Moaser have relocated since the arrest of Yadegari but remain in business. The planned intermediary for receiving Yadegari’s consignments in Dubai, Keft Trading Company, was recently visited by Macleans reporters, who found it still in operation.

Judge Sought to Establish Deterrence

According to the Crown prosecution office, in her reasoning for the sentence against Yadegari, the judge found that deterrence was important to establish in this case, Canada’s first ever conviction for violations of its United Nations Act, which forbids export of nuclear usable goods to Iran in concordance with U.N. Security Council resolutions. She noted that Yadegari knew or was willfully blind about the nature of the equipment being sent to Iran, and was aware that he was exporting to Iran although he may not have known the goods would be used in Iran’s enrichment program. She found his primary motivation to be profit, but said that his actions could have negative ramifications for the global community. The judge also noted that Yadegari had “lost everything,” including his home, business, and other assets. Federal prosecutors sought a total sentence for Yadegari of 6.5 years, or four years in prison in addition to time served.

Read previous ISIS reports about the case of Yadegari here and here.

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