Taiwanese Citizen Sentenced for Illegal Exports of Military and Dual-Use Items to Iran

April 1, 2020

Publication Type: 

  • International Enforcement Actions

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile
  • Military

Related Country: 

  • China
  • Georgia
  • Hong Kong
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States

Author: 

Wisconsin Project Staff

Update: Merdad Ansari, a co-defendant in the case, was extradited from the Republic of Georgia to the United States in March 2020. He faces federal charges in Western District of Texas. Co-defendant Mehrdad Foomani remains at large.

Foomani used companies in Iran (Morvarid Sargh Co Ltd), Hong Kong (Panda Semiconductor, Foang Tech Inc), and China (Ninehead Bird Semiconductor) to illicitly obtain military-sensitive items from the United States for Iran. Ansari supported the operation by transshipping the illicit cargo through Gulf Gate Sea Cargo LLC, his company in the United Arab Emirates. The shipments and attempted shipments, valued at over $2.6 million, took place between October 2007 and June 2011.

Originally published: October 30, 2012

A U.S. district court in Texas sentenced Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip (a.k.a. Susan Yeh) to two years in federal prison on October 24, 2012, for her role in shipping thousands of U.S.-origin military and dual-use parts from the United States to Iran, using front companies in the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. According to court documents, Yip worked with Iranian citizen Mehrdad "Frank" Foomani and UAE citizen Merdad Ansari, who were also indicted but remain at large.

Yip acted as a broker in order to obtain U.S. origin goods destined for Iranian companies run by Foomani, including Sazgan Ertebat Co. Ltd. and Morvarid Shargh Co. Ltd. She used her companies in Taiwan (Hivocal Technology Company Ltd., Enrich Ever Technologies Co. Ltd., and Kuang-Su Corporation) and in Hong Kong (Infinity Wise Technology, Well Smart (HK) Technology, Pinky Trading Co. Ltd., and Wise Smart (HK) Electronics Limited) to procure and attempt to procure goods from the United States. In some cases, the goods were transshipped via Ansari's UAE-based Gulf Gate Sea Cargo L.L.C.

Yip, Ansari, and Ansari allegedly took part in 599 transactions with 63 different U.S. companies, for items with potential applications in nuclear weapons, missile guidance, secure radio communications, electronic warfare, radio jamming, and radar warning and surveillance systems, including vibration test systems, microwave absorbers, spectrum analyzers, precision amplifiers, and oscillators.

Footnotes: 

[1] "Taiwanese National Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Exporting Military Sensitive Items from the United States to Iran," Press Release, Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Antonio Division, October 24, 2012.

[2] Indictment, United States of America v. Susan Yip, Mehrdad Foomanie, and Mehrdad Ansari, Case Number 5:11-cr-00516-XR, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, June 15, 2011.