US convicts Iranian national of illegally shipping military items to Iran

Mehrdad Ansari, 39, who could face as much as 50 years in federal prison for his conspiracy to violate trade sanctions on Iran, along with other charges, is set to be sentenced on September 1.

A gavel in a court of law (photo credit: REUTERS)
A gavel in a court of law
(photo credit: REUTERS)
An Iranian national has been convicted by a US federal jury for violating trade embargos and illegally exporting sensitive military items to Iran, the US Justice Department announced in a statement on Friday.
Mehrdad Ansari, 39, is an Iranian citizen but is also a resident of Germany and the United Arab Emirates. 
According to the Justice Department, over the course of several years, Ansari was involved with two others, identified as Susan Yip (also known as Susan Yeh) from Taiwan and Mehrdad Foomanie (also known as Frank Foomanie) of Iran, to ship cargo from the US. This was to be done through the use of Ansari's two Dubai-based companies, Gulf Gate Sea Cargo LLC and Global Merchant LLC.
From October 9, 2007, to June 15, 2011, the trio obtained or attempted to obtain over 105,000 items,  valued at about $2.63 million. To do this, they had to conduct around 600 transactions from 63 US companies. All of this was done without notifying the US that they were going to ship these items to Iran, and without getting a license from the US Treasury or Commerce Department that would allow them to do so.
Ultimately, a federal jury convicted Ansari of multiple counts of conspiracy and two counts of aiding and abetting, and of making false statements. Adding the charges together, he could end up facing as much as 50 years in federal prison. His sentencing is set for September 1.
His co-conspirator, Yip, had pled guilty in 2012 and spent two years in prison; Foomanie is still at large.

The restrictions against trading with Iran are part of the sanctions placed on the Islamic Republic by the US, and remain a subject of consternation in negotiations between Tehran and Washington.