News / USA

    7 Released Iranians All Linked to Trade Sanction Offenses

    FILE - Empty Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines containers are seen at Malta Freeport in the Port of Marsaxlokk outside Valletta, Feb. 10, 2012.
    FILE - Empty Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines containers are seen at Malta Freeport in the Port of Marsaxlokk outside Valletta, Feb. 10, 2012.
    Ken Bredemeier

    The seven Iranian prisoners the United States agreed to swap Saturday for four Americans all were accused or convicted of violating economic sanctions against Iran aimed at forcing it to abandon any effort to build a nuclear weapon.

    The U.S. said six of the seven held dual U.S.-Iranian citizenship and several of them had lived in the United States for years before drawing the attention of U.S. authorities who were investigating trade deals with Iran that were banned by the sanctions.

    In addition, as part of the prisoner swap, the U.S. agreed to dismiss charges and end its alert notices with the international police agency Interpol against 14 other Iranians whom it believed it would not have been successful in extraditing to the U.S. for trial.

    One of the seven Iranians freed was Nader Modanlo, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Iran and is now in his mid-50s. He was the principal owner of an aerospace company outside Washington and was convicted of helping broker a deal that led to Iran's first orbiting satellite, a launch carried out in Russia in 2005.

    Modanlo was convicted of violating the trade embargo, money laundering and obstruction of bankruptcy proceedings in 2013 and was serving an eight-year prison term, on top of being ordered to forfeit $10 million to the U.S. government.

    A year ago, another of the Iranians, Ali Saboonchi, was sentenced to a two-year prison term for conspiring to violate the trade ban and seven counts of exporting American-manufactured industrial products to Iran. According to testimony at his trial, Saboonchi shipped the products to companies in China and the United Arab Emirates that then sent them on to Iran.

    Cyber attack case

    Nima Golestaneh was in a U.S. jail awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty last month of helping carry out a cyber attack on a U.S. defense contractor.

    Another of the jailed Iranians freed Saturday, Arash Ghahreman, had won a visa lottery to enter the United States in 2006 and settled in his new homeland, obtaining U.S. citizenship and working at a shipyard in New York. But U.S. prosecutors said he ran afoul of the trade sanctions with a plan to export electronics to a Dubai company operated by a friend, knowing they would be shipped on to Iran. He is appealing his conviction and a 6½-year prison term, saying he did not know the items were destined for Iran.

    The other three Iranians, Bahram Mechanic and Tooraj Faridi, both of Houston, and Khosrow Afghahi of Los Angeles, were charged in a 24-count indictment last year with exporting $24 million worth of electronics to Iran that Tehran could have used in a range of military systems, including surface-to-air and cruise missiles.

    It was unclear whether the seven would leave the U.S. for Iran, but they are free to stay in the United States.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    by: Harrygeddon from: Zambia
    January 18, 2016 9:11 AM
    What is wrong in Iran!

    by: mudy Hassan
    January 17, 2016 11:09 AM
    Thanks Iranian to finished sanction with dat satan

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora