Iran Watch Newsletter: December 2018

December 4, 2018

Publication Type: 

  • Newsletters

The second issue of the Iran Watch newsletter includes analysis of a federal indictment unsealed last month that details a conspiracy to illicitly procure and export to Iran U.S.-origin technology, an update on companies re-evaluating their business dealings with Iran in light of new U.S. sanctions, statements by the U.S. and France about Iran's latest ballistic missile test, and more. View the newsletter in your browser and sign-up to receive it in your inbox here.

Iran Watch Publications

Crackdown on Iranian Network Underscores Pattern in Illicit Procurement 
A federal indictment unsealed last month provides the latest illustration of the methods used by Iranian procurement agents to illicitly obtain U.S.-origin goods for export to Iran. This case details how Iranian citizen Arash Sepehri conspired with individuals and companies operating in Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran to send hundreds of thousands of dollars of U.S. technology to Iran between 2010 and 2011. While the U.S. case concerns military-related procurement and embargo violations, the network has also supported Iran's nuclear program: Three of the companies involved in the conspiracy have conducted illicit nuclear procurement, according to the European Union. Learn more about the case here.

How Companies Around the World are Reversing Course on Iran Business 
The Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran reached a milestone on November 5, 2018, with the re-imposition of powerful U.S. sanctions aimed at Iran's banking, energy, and shipping sectors – and at the governments and companies still engaging with those sectors. In advance of and since this deadline, companies around the world have pulled back from trade and investment with Iran. Learn more about the latest sanctions and companies' responses here.

Iran Watch Library

U.S. Department of State: Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook with Traveling Press - December 4, 2018

U.S. Department of State: Briefing on Iran - December 3, 2018

Iranian Foreign Ministry: Response to U.S. Claims about Iranian Missile Tests - December 2, 2018

U.S. Department of State: Iran Test Launches Ballistic Missile Violating UN Security Council Ban - December 1, 2018

French Foreign Ministry: Response to Iran's Latest Ballistic Missile Test - December 1, 2018

U.S. Department of State: The Iranian Regime's Transfer of Arms to Proxy Groups and Ongoing Missile Development - November 29, 2018

EU: High Representative Mogherini Meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif - November 28, 2018

AEOI: Statement at the Seminar on International Nuclear Cooperation between Iran and the EU - November 26, 2018

Entities of Proliferation Concern

FHM Electronics Co. An Iranian state-owned electronics company connected to the Defense Industries Organization (DIO) and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The company’s logo was stamped on components, including guidance system circuit boards, from an "explosive boat" seized by Emirati forces while en route to the Houthis in Yemen.

Iran Helicopter Support and Renewal Industries (PANHA) 
An Iranian defense firm that provides maintenance services for Iran's military helicopters and aircraft. The firm builds, repairs, and reverse-engineers U.S.-model helicopters for Iran's military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and is directed by the Iranian Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO)

Shahid Hemat Industrial Group (SHIG)  
A subordinate of Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) responsible for Iran's liquid-fueled ballistic missile program, including the medium-range Shahab-3. Relies on a string of front companies for missile-related procurement. Still subject to sanctions by the United Nations, European Union, and United States.

In the News

​British Man Jailed for Trafficking Fighter Jet Parts to Iran 
British businessman Alexander George was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for violating export controls. George procured military hardware, including Russian MiG and U.S. F4 Phantom parts, and illicitly shipped them to Iran via his companies in Malaysia and Dubai. George enlisted the help of a British couple, Paul and Iris Attwater, to procure U.S.-origin parts and ship them to George's companies in Malaysia using their company, Pairs Aviation. After being questioned by HM Revenue and Customs in 2010, George and the Attwaters began shipping the items to the Netherlands under the name of a British Virgin Islands-registered company, before shipping them to Iran via Malaysia. The Attwaters received a six-month suspended prison sentence for their role.

FBI Announces Reward for Information Leading to Arrest of Iranian Tied to Illegal Procurement of U.S. Technology 
The U.S. Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program has offered a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Iranian national Hossein Ahmad Larijani, who is wanted for illicitly procuring U.S.-origin technology. Larijani was originally indicted in 2010 on export-related charges, including for his role in a 2007-2008 scheme to illicitly procure and transship to Iran, via Singapore, 6,000 U.S.-origin radio transceiver modules. Three of the four Singaporean co-conspirators who assisted Larijani were arrested and extradited to the U.S., where they served a prison sentence before being deported back to Singapore. The fourth co-conspirator remains at large.