ISIS Iran Report

How illicit nuclear trade happens

April 20, 2009

There is an interesting story in Saturday’s Globe and Mail about an Iranian-Canadian who is charged with attempting to export ten pressure transducers in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Iran.  The accused, Mahmoud Yadegari, allegedly obtained the pressure transducers from Setra Systems in Boston and had them shipped to Toronto.  From there, he is alleged to have planned to transship these items to Iran via Dubai.  The case illustrates a common pathway used to hide the true end user of dual-use equipment, which in this case is believed to be Iran’s gas centrifuge program.  These transducers are suitable for measuring the pressure of the highly-corrosive uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas as it is processed in a gas centrifuge plant.  Yadegari, age 35, was denied bail at Friday’s preliminary hearing.  According to the article, Setra Systems, which shipped the goods to Canada, alerted authorities that “there was an unusual purchase from an unknown person in Canada.”  ISIS has recently published detailed case studies analyzing Iran’s illicit procurements of military and nuclear technology.  They underscore the importance of the private sector’s role as the first line of defense against unlawful activity.  This case also highlights that the United States remains an important target of Iran’s illicit procurement efforts for its nuclear and military programs.

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