CLEVELAND, Ohio — Three Iranian natives have been charged in Cleveland federal court with violating a U.S. embargo by participating in the sale of millions of dollars in products from the United States to their native country.
Federal authorities tracked shipments from the U.S., including the Cleveland area, to countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. From there, the packages were shipped to Iran, according to an indictment.
The exported goods were to be used in the oil, gas, energy and petroleum industries, among others.
Mohammad Khazrai Shaneivar, Arezoo Hashemnejad Alalmdari, Parisa Mohamadi and the Canadian company IC Link Industries are named as defendants in the indictment. Shaneivar and Alamdari live in Canada but hail from Iran. Mohamadi, who also goes by Parisa Javidi, is a dual U.S. and Iranian citizen and has addresses in California and other parts of the world.
The indictment, which brings charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and smuggling, was filed in June but not unsealed until last week, when Mohamadi, 52, of Tehran, was arrested in the U.S.
A criminal complaint filed in January, also unsealed last week, says Mohamadi was involved with more than 70 potential or completed transactions worth more than $3 million between 2010 and 2012.
She has pleaded not guilty and is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Her attorney, Joseph Morse, did not immediately return a phone call.
President Bill Clinton issued a trade embargo against Iran in 1995. The executive order stemmed from his declaration that Iran’s policies and governmental actions in regards to terrorism and attempts to acquire nuclear weapons constituted a threat to the U.S.’s national security.
Exports are not allowed to go to Iranian companies, with limited exceptions. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the defendants in this case did not receive authorization from the U.S. government to export goods to Iran.
IC Link, operated by Shaneivar, has an affiliate in Tehran.
The indictment says Shaneivar received orders from Alamdari and others on behalf of customers in Iran for industrial goods sold in the U.S.
IC Link sent requests for quotes to a person named “M.S.”, who lives in Ohio and operates two businesses in the state that obtains goods from U.S. suppliers for reshipment to customers outside the country, the indictment states.
If the quoted price was acceptable, M.S. shipped the items that would eventually end up in Iran, according to the indictment.
Shaneivar and IC Link sometimes used Mohamadi, who owned a company based in United Arab Emirates, to arrange shipment in deals arranged by M.S. to destinations Iran, the indictment says.
Sometimes, people told M.S. to under report the value of the goods being shipped to reduce scrutiny from the U.S. government. They also removed serial numbers or repackaged goods to hide their origins, the indictment says. Shaneivar and Mohamadi also reported or had others lie to the U.S. about goods and their ultimate destination, the indictment says.
Among the customers was Kala Naft, the procurement arm of the National Iranian Oil Company, according to the indictment.
The case is assigned to Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent.