August 7, 2006

Jail for man who tried to export sensors to Iran

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An American-Iranian man was
sentenced to a year in prison on Monday for trying to export
sensors to Iran that are normally used to detect liquid or gas
pressure but could also be used to detonate explosives.

Muhammad Fazeli, 27, pleaded guilty in May to the federal
charges even though prosecutors acknowledged there was no
evidence suggesting he intended the sensors to be used for
military purposes.

Fazeli, who has dual American and Iranian citizenship,
ordered 103 sensors from a U.S. Web site and agreed to ship the
items to Iran as a favor for a family friend. His lawyers said
they were typically used for medical applications.

Los Angeles-based Fazeli also apologized for his actions
but U.S. District Judge George King said the devices could have
fallen into the wrong hands with "very devastating

The United States has a trade embargo with Iran dating back
to the 1970s that bars selling goods without U.S. authorization
that could have an economic benefit to Iran.

King said he intended Fazeli's sentence to deter others who
might be tempted to disregard U.S. export laws.

"The word has to get out that there's a penalty to be paid
for not abiding by these restrictions," King said, not only for
foreign policy reasons but also "to protect the public from
potential harm."