News / Middle East

British Man Accused of Conspiring to Sell Missile Parts to Iran Fights US Extradition

Multimedia

Audio
Henry Ridgwell

A British man has appeared in court in London Thursday, accused of conspiring to sell missile parts to Iran in breach of international sanctions. Wealthy golf club president Christopher Tappin denies the charge, and is fighting an extradition request from the United States, where he could face a 35-year prison sentence if found guilty. The case has highlighted the tightening of sanctions against Tehran – and the problems that foreign businesses face in trying to do business in Iran.

Christopher Tappin is accused by U.S. authorities of conspiring to sell weapons parts to Iran in breach of international sanctions. But he emerged from the hearing punching the air, and is confident that the extradition request will be denied.

"We're relying on the British justice system to do its work, and it seems to be going in my favor," Tappin said. "We are very against the way that the U.S. is conducting itself in prosecuting this case, and the clear indication is that things are moving in our direction."

He denies involvement

Tappin denies he attempted to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles, which were allegedly to be shipped from the U.S. to Tehran. The court papers showed that American clients Tappin was dealing with were, in fact, undercover U.S. Customs Enforcement agents.

In July of this year, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill enacting additional sanctions against Iran regarding the export of petroleum products, together with measures preventing banks from providing services to Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

"I'm pleased to sign into law the toughest sanctions against Iran ever passed by the United States Congress," Mr. Obama said.

UN sanctions

The United Nations also adopted sanctions targeting Iran's armed forces and nuclear-related industries. It's these laws that Christopher Tappin is accused of breaking.

The U.S. government says the sanctions are a vital tool in trying to curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions. The United States and others in the international community accuse Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes only.

Nigel Kushner of the London law firm Whale Rock advises clients who want to do business in Iran on how to comply with the sanctions. He says the regulations are hugely complex.

"There are so many different layers of sanctions, which means that companies are often in the dark and don't even realize that what they're doing is wrong," said Kushner . "The U.S. authorities came out with some far-reaching sanctions, which have an effect on non-U.S. persons, so what they're saying to the rest of the world is, 'You want to do business with Iran? Then you won't be doing business in the U.S.'"

Rights group expresses solidarity

Outside the courthouse in London, the human rights group "Liberty" organized a protest in support of Tappin. The group's director of policy, Isabella Sankey, says the extradition agreements between the U.S. and the United Kingdom are being misused.

"Cases like this definitely highlight how blanket rules that were brought in post-9/11, supposedly to deal with terror suspects and allow them to be transferred easily between the U.S. and the U.K., are actually so broad and lack so many fundamental safeguards that many of these smaller allegations and cases are being swept up along with what this law was originally intended to deal with," said Sankey.

Tappin will be back in court in November to continue his fight against extradition to the U.S.

American authorities say they will continue to pursue anyone they believe is breaking the sanctions against Iran.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs