Minnesota Firm Accidentally Provides Potential Military Hardware to Iran

Sales to a Malaysian firm were then sent on to Iran

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn.- A Minnesota firm recently was tricked into providing an Iranian importer with sensitive technology which has the potential for use in military equipment.

The company, Digi-Key Electronics, is a large distributor of electronic components, including digital communication tools which were sold to a private exporter, Green Wave Telecommunications. Green Wave then illegally sold the material to an Iranian import company, Fanavari Moj Khavar, or Fanamoj.

According to charges reported by the Star Tribune, Fanamoj has “close commercial relations with the Iranian government. In particular, this includes public entities such as Iran Electronics Industry, Iran Telecommunications Industry and Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. In relation to the equipment stolen, which was telecommunication equipment, it is important to point out that at least half of Iran’s Telecommunication Industry is owned by the Revolutionary Guard, a part of Iran’s military which is also in charge of the Iranian nuclear program. The sale of the components could violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which restrict exports that “could make a significant contribution to the military potential of other nations or that could be detrimental to the foreign policy or national security.”

The fraud was committed by two individuals, a Alireza Jalali and Negar Ghodskani, both of whom have been charged with conspiring to defraud the United States, smuggling, making false statements and money laundering.

Alireza was head of purchasing at Green Wave, and according to the charges has been accused of repackaging and exporting the equipment from Digi-Key to Iran without a license while misrepresenting the transactions between Green Wave and the Iranian firm in an effort to conceal shipments of the American goods.

Ghodskani apparently worked for both the Malaysian shipping company and the Iranian company, and in communications with Digi-Key misrepresented her email signature to suggest that she was working out of Malaysia.

While the case has been going on since December 2015, Jalali was arrested in June of this year at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Jalali received an initial hearing in June, and is now set to return in court on Sept. 27, though his attorney have asked to have until Oct. 27 due to technical difficulties, according to the Star Tribune.

Henry Carras