News Briefs

April 3, 2018
A recent Bahraini government audit revealed that the now-closed Future Bank, a joint venture between Iran's Bank Melli and Bank Saderat and Bahrain's Ahli United Bank, altered financial records to mask illicit trade between Iran and foreign partners. Between 2004 and 2015, Future Bank concealed $4.7 billion in Iranian transactions using wire-stripping; another $2.7 billion in transactions were hidden using an alternative to the SWIFT system. Auditors also found hundreds of bank accounts tied to individuals convicted of money laundering and terrorist financing and loans provided to front companies operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). 
-- The Washington Post
March 30, 2018
Ukrainian authorities deported two Iranian nationals who attempted to buy components for the X-31 (or KH-31) anti-ship missile in January 2018. One of the men, Abdi Biyan, was allegedly a military attache at the Iranian embassy in Kyiv. Police found missile parts as well as technical documents in the men’s vehicle. Ukraine’s intelligence service noted that the attempted purchase may violate the U.N prohibition on Iranian arms procurement. The X-31 is a Russian-designed weapon capable of supersonic speeds. 
-- The Daily Beast
March 25, 2018
Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen fired a barrage of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia, killing one Egyptian national and injuring two others. The Saudi military claims to have intercepted seven missiles, of which three were launched at Riyadh, two at Jazan, and one each at Najran and Khamis Mushait. According to a Houthi-run news report, among the missiles fired were Burkans, which resemble Iran's Qiam ballistic missile. 
-- The Washington Post
March 20, 2018
Iranian national Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad has been arrested on charges of money laundering, conspiring to defraud the United States, and conspiring to commit bank fraud. He illicitly transferred over $115 million from Venezuela to Iran through the U.S. financial system. Sadr used Stratus Group, an Iranian conglomerate he and his family controlled, and Iranian International Housing Corporation (IIHC), a Tehran-based company he set up, to facilitate the construction of housing units in Venezuela. Sadr incorporated one entity in Switzerland (Clarity Trade and Finance) and one in Turkey (Stratus International Contracting J.S., a.k.a. Stratus Turkey, a.k.a. Straturk) to receive U.S. dollar payments; he then opened bank accounts for both entities in Switzerland to conduct international financial transactions for the benefit of Iranian parties. 
-- U.S. Department of Justice
March 15, 2018
Canadian citizen Mehran Ghanouni was arrested in Seattle, Washington, following an indictment charging him with violating U.S. export laws and making false statements to federal investigators. The indictment alleges that between 2014 and 2016, Ghanouni and his co-conspirators attempted to export $2.3 million in parts for petrochemical equipment on 35 different occasions to Iranian-state owned oil companies. According to the indictment, Ghanouni’s company, Integrated Control Systems (ICS), falsely claimed the goods were destined for companies in Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. 
-- U.S. Department of Justice
February 19, 2018
Mahan Air has purchased U.S.-origin aircraft parts using Turkish front companies, according to a recent filing by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Between September 2016 and December 2017, Turkish national Gulnihal Yegane helped Mahan Air circumvent U.S. sanctions and export controls by creating shell companies in Turkey to facilitate the purchases. Yegane used these companies, including Trigron Lojistik Kargo, RA Havacilik, and others, to purchase Boeing aircraft engines and gaskets for Mahan's Boeing aircraft. Mahan is an Iranian airline sanctioned by the United States for supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and for transporting weapons and fighters throughout the Middle East. The BIS filing ordered a ban on U.S. exports to Yegane and any affiliates. 
-- Wall Street Journal
February 11, 2018
Iran displayed the Qadr and the Fajr 5 ballistic missiles at a rally in Tehran. The Qadr is a liquid-fueled missile with a 2,000 km range and the Fajr 5 is a short-range system. Iran claims that a Qadr variant, the Qadr H, can be launched from mobile platforms and is equipped with a radar-evading capability. Also on display was the Fateh, a 500-ton submarine that will be used by Iran’s navy. 
-- Fars News Agency
February 6, 2018
An Australian couple has been charged with violating U.N. sanctions by sending two shipments of nickel alloy to Iran in 2009 and 2010. Co-defendants Khosrow Sajjadi and Sima Aghili Nategh of Epping, Australia allegedly sold the material, which has nuclear applications, to Dubai-based company HICO Fze. According to court documents, Ms. Aghili Nategh told Australian supplier Speciality Alloys Pty Ltd that the material was intended for a Dutch company for gas and steam turbine production. Instead, the material was transferred to Bandar Abbas, Iran. Both defendants are out on bail and awaiting plea negotiations. 
-- Australian Broadcasting Corporation
February 5, 2018
Rocket parts recovered in Syria following the Assad regime’s January 22 and February 1 chlorine gas attacks indicate that the rockets' electrical insulating material was manufactured by German company Krempel GmbH. Photos show the parts imprinted with the company’s logo, product name, and the line “Made in Germany.” Krempel confirmed that it delivered the material, Pressspan PSP 3040, to two Iranian trading companies. The chlorine attacks used 107mm Iranian rockets modified to replace the conventional warhead with gas cylinders. The missiles’ markings indicate that they were produced in 2016 and came from Iran. The information comes from a joint investigation by the human rights organization STJ and the research platform Bellingcat. 
-- Bild
February 5, 2018
Iran inaugurated a production line for the Mohajer 6 tactical drone, which will be delivered to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Ground Forces. The Mohajer 6 is capable of carrying high-precision smart bombs and is equipped with Qa'em precision-strike bombs, according to Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami. In addition, the drone is equipped with electro-optical explorers and can trace, intercept, and destroy targets, as well as conduct reconnaissance. 
-- Fars News Agency