March 9, 2011: A U.S. court recently convicted a naturalized American citizen, Mohammad Reza Vaghari, of buying electronic equipment and illegally exporting it to Iran (via an associate in Dubai). Vaghari, who became a citizen in 2005 (and lied on his application for that as well), could receive up to eight years in prison. These prosecutions are becoming more common, not just in the United States, but in many other Western nations where Iran conducts its smuggling operations.
For example, last year, for the first time, Canada prosecuted one of its citizens, Mahmoud Yadegari, for trying to smuggle nuclear research equipment to Iran. While Iranian born, Yadegari is a Canadian citizen, and had bought ten pressure transducers (needed to enrich uranium for nuclear warheads) from an American firm, stating he was shipping them to Dubai (and then smuggled from there into Iran). Yadegari was detected, arrested, convicted and sentenced to 51 months in jail. He also lost his house, and his wife fled back to Iran with their child.
Many Western nations, in addition to the United States, have become more aggressive in going after Iranian technology and hardware smuggling. Australia recently stopped a shipment of pumps that, it turned out, were capable of being used in nuclear power plants (as well as for more benign uses). Iran has been quite blatant about buying dual use equipment, and then openly using the stuff for military purposes. That bravado is backfiring.