WASHINGTON — The United States has arrested and charged an Iranian semiconductor scientist with violating US export laws by buying high-tech US lab equipment, a development likely to further worsen Iranian-US tensions.
Prison records show the US has been holding Seyed Mojtaba Atarodi, 54, a microchip expert and assistant professor at Tehran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology, in a federal facility outside San Francisco. The Iranian interest section in the Pakistani embassy in Washington said it was aware of the arrest.
Atarodi arrived at a bond hearing in federal district court in San Francisco Thursday wearing a green jump suit and politely bowed to his attorney. Before the hearing began, the judge closed the courtroom except to attorneys and members of the family. He was detained Dec. 7 after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles.
Following the 10-minute hearing, Atarodi’s family said he was scheduled for release on bail subject to electronic monitoring. He is being released, they said, in part for medical reasons. The scientist has suffered two heart attacks, a stroke and has undergone two heart surgeries in the last 14 months.
Assistant US Attorney Philip Kearney declined comment. Neither would other US law enforcement offi... >>>
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