Intelligence: Iran Loses Another One

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February 4, 2022: In early January U.S. prosecutors announced that they were charging Iranian-born Kambiz Attar Kashani for conspiring to illegally export American equipment and technology to Iran. Kashani is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who was arrested in Chicago the day before charges were brought. He was put in jail, without bail, until his trial. All this indicates that the government has a strong case and fears Kashani will flee the country if released on bail. The charges allege Kashani used two UAE-based companies as the front for the scheme. He was apparently paid well by Iran to set this up and had the cooperation of the Bank of Iran, which can work with UAE firms. Kashani was supplying the Iranian Quds Force as well as Hezbollah, so he was also accused to supporting terrorism. It is not known how much material was already transferred but that will probably come out during the trial. UAE firms are often used as intermediaries for obtaining banned (for Iran) tech. The charges did reveal that the pipeline from the U.S. to the UAE firms to Iran was operational between early 2019 and mid-2021.

Since the 1980s Iran has developed new smuggling techniques to deal with more restrictions on such activity. The key to this is trusted agents in the United States, preferably Iranian-Americans or anyone else that can be trusted to take big risks, for big payoffs, to organize what amounts to fraud. American firms have to be convinced that they are selling restricted items to legitimate foreign firms. This is meant to make it much harder for countries like Iran and China from getting American tech that would be used to build weapons used to kill Americans or other allied personnel. Iran uses diplomats for recruiting, not just in the United States but in other nations where Iranian-Americans or Pakistani-Americans can be found. Occasionally Iran will recruit an American born and raised in the United States, but that is rare. The risks are great, and knowledge of foreign languages, especially Arabic is a big plus. The Americans, and the West in general have become more effective at detecting and disrupting these Iranian and Chinese smuggling efforts. The growing number and frequency of indictments is evidence of that.

 


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