Rocket metal smuggler to Iran charged in US

American authorities have accused an Iranian man of operating an international smuggling network that illegally exported specialized metals used in rockets from the United States to the Iranian regime to support the regime’s ballistic missile program, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The Post wrote that the man, Milad Jafari, 36, is believed to be at large in Iran. He was “indicted on 11 counts of fraud, illegal export and illegal smuggling by a federal grand jury in Washington on July 21, according to court documents unsealed Monday.”

The paper said, Justice Department officials said Jafari and his associates set up companies outside Iran to provide “direct support” to the Iranian regime’s missile program by securing metal products such as steel and aluminum alloys.

It added that the materials were bound for entities controlled by the regime’s Aerospace Industries Organization, a subsidiary of the military that oversees its missile industry and that has been subject to U.S. sanctions since 2005.

David Kris, assistant, U.S. attorney general for national security, was quoted as saying that the allegations “shed light on the reach of Iran’s illegal procurement networks and the importance of keeping U.S. materials from being exploited for Iran’s weapons development.”

The indictment said Jafari ran two businesses active in Istanbul and Tehran, called Macpar Makina and Standard Teknik Parca, or STEP, the Washington Post wrote.

US Treasury officials named three other Iranian companies in the alleged scheme, Multimat Ltd., Carvana Co. and Machine Pardazan Co, according to the Post.

“According to federal prosecutors, between February 2004 and August 2007 Jafari’s group responded to direct requests or initiated purchases after hearing of requests issued by subordinates of AIO. The transactions valued more than $7 million.”

The Post added that the requests came from front companies for the Iranian regime’s Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group and Sanam Industrial Group, other entities subordinate to AIO and sanctioned by U.S. and United Nations authorities, prosecutors said.

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