'10-year max sentence for Iranian spying on US proves Pollard must be set free'

Labor MK Nachman Shai who heads the Knesset's Pollard lobby says Pollard has served 28 years for spying for an ally.

January 15, 2014 04:50
1 minute read.
Jonathan Pollard red, white and blue

Jonathan Pollard red, white and blue. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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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 Germany.

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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.”

Deirdre M. 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 equipment.

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.

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