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Dual US-Iranian citizen arrested for sending US tech to Iran

A dual citizen of the United States and Iran has been charged with conspiring to export US technology, goods, and services illegally to users in Iran, including the Iranian government, while deceiving a Massachusetts company and other vendors about where their products were going, officials said Friday.

Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, was arrested Thursday in Chicago and on Friday appeared in federal court there, where he was ordered held pending a detention hearing, according to a statement from the office of the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The statement did not say when Kashani is due back in court.

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Kashani allegedly violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a federal law regulating international trade with parties considered to be a threat to the US.

Joseph R. Bonavolanta, special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office, said Kashani was arrested for “conspiring to deceive U.S. companies, including one headquartered in Massachusetts, by illegally exporting their highly sophisticated electronic equipment and technology to the Government of Iran.”

“We believe Mr. Kashani profited financially by strengthening the economy of one of the world’s most infamous state sponsors of terrorism, while circumventing critical U.S. laws designed to protect our national security interests,” Bonavolanta said in the statement.

There was no attorney listed for Kashani in a federal court database.

From about February 2019 through June 2021, Kashani and his co-conspirators operated through two front companies in the United Arab Emirates, acquiring technology and goods from US tech companies for export to Iran without the required export licenses while telling its vendors their products were going to the UAE, according to prosecutors.

The conspiracy included illegally exporting technology and goods to the Central Bank of Iran, which the US government considers an agency of the Iranian government, according to the statement.

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The bank has been classified as a Specially Designated National, meaning that it is acting for or on behalf of a terrorist group. It has provided support to Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, and to the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, prosecutors said.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.