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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid