The 10-year maximum sentence set for an Iranian spy charged with spying on the
US raised new questions about why Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard is still in
prison, Labor MK Nachman Shai said Tuesday.
Mozaffar Khazaee, an Iranian
engineer who worked with US defense contractors, was arrested Friday at Newark
Liberty International Airport in New Jersey as he attempted to fly to Tehran via
He was charged in Connecticut with “transporting, transmitting
and transferring in interstate or foreign commerce goods obtained by theft,
conversion, or fraud.”
A statement by the US attorney’s office in
Connecticut said the maximum sentence for such a crime is imprisonment of 10
years and a fine of up to $250,000.
“The Iranian’s maximum sentence
raises the question yet against why Pollard was given life in prison and why he
still has not received clemency from the president of the United States,” said
Shai, who heads the Knesset’s Pollard lobby. “Pollard has served more than 28
years for spying for an ally. Spying for Iran is much worse.”
Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said Khazaee
attempted to ship to Iran proprietary material relating to the US Air Force’s
F35 Joint Strike Fighter program and military jet engines that he had stolen
from defense contractors where he had been employed. The US intercepted numerous
boxes of documents consisting of sensitive technical manuals, specification
sheets, and other material.
When it was revealed last month that an
Iranian spy had been released by the US, there was an outcry in Israel over the
continued incarceration of Pollard, who is the only man ever sentenced to life
in prison for spying for an ally.
Mojtaba Atarodi, an assistant professor
of electrical engineering at Iran’s Sharif University of Technology, had been
detained for more than a year on suspicion of buying hi-tech US laboratory
Sources close to President Shimon Peres said he raised
Pollard’s fate in a significant manner in his meeting with US Vice President
Joseph Biden on Monday.