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US Businessmen Accused of Military Sales to Iran


A federal judge in Florida has ordered two American businessmen to remain in jail to face charges of illegally shipping military aircraft parts to Iran. In Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports the two are accused of violating a U.S. ban on military exports.

The judge in Miami agreed to continue holding the two men who were detained in separate operations in south Florida last week. He also set an arraignment hearing for July 8.

The men are Iranian-born Hassan Keshari, who runs a California-based company that sells aviation equipment, and Romanian-born Traian Bujduveanu, who sells aircraft parts near Miami. Authorities say they searched Bujduveanu's company and found hundreds of parts for various military aircraft.

The two are accused of buying U.S.-made parts and shipping them to a firm in Dubai, where they were transferred to buyers in Iran. Prosecutors say neither man had a license to sell Iran the equipment, which included parts for two military helicopters, and the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet.

Military experts say U.S. restrictions have made it difficult for Iran to find parts for its aging fleet of F-14 jets, which were acquired from the United States in the 1970s.

Victor Comras, a former U.S. diplomat, says the United States has created tough licensing requirements to prevent any military technology from ending up in the hands of Iran's government.

"American exporters are responsible to know who the ultimate consignees are for the goods they get. These kind of [aircraft] goods generally are shipped under license, either a general license, or a specific license in the case of anything that might go to Iran," he said.

Comras says the impact of U.S. sanctions has diminished in recent years, as Iran has forged ties with European and Asian nations. He said new restrictions being proposed by some European nations would create new pressure on Iran to end its nuclear program and its support for terrorist groups.


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