February 1, 2009:
A naturalized U.S. citizen, Hassan Keshari, recently pled guilty to violating the arms embargo on Iran. Keshari was born in Iran, and acted as a middleman between the Iranian import companies that paid for all this, and a supplier in Florida who was able to obtain spare parts for C-130 transports, F-14 fighters and AH-1 helicopter gunships. Many parts for these aircraft are fairly common items in the U.S. aviation business, but harder to get overseas, or in an embargoed country like Iran. The owner of the Florida company has pleaded innocent, and goes on trial in four months.
Ever since the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1979 (after Iran broke diplomatic protocol by seizing the American embassy), Iran has sought, with some success, to offer big money to smugglers who can beat the embargo and get needed industrial and military equipment. This is a risky business, and American and European prisons are full of Iranians, and other nationals, who tried, and failed, to procure forbidden goods. The smuggling operations is currently under more scrutiny, and attack, because of Iran's growing nuclear weapons program.
Many of those caught aiding the Iranian procurement effort, are Iranian by birth. Iranian recruiters go after expatriate Iranians, especially those who have become citizens in their new countries, to help get forbidden items. This has put over a hundred of these expatriates in jail or on the run from their adopted homes. In most cases, the Iranian recruiters offer money, but they will also invoke "love of the motherland", or even threats against kin still in Iran.