September 16, 2008:
German prosecutors have indicted an Iranian
citizen for running a weapons related smuggling operation. The defendant
purchased and shipped $860,000 worth of equipment to Iran from 2002-6. The
defendant is also being tried for espionage.
Ever since the U.S. embargo was imposed
in 1979 (after Iran broke diplomatic protocol by seizing the American embassy),
Iran has sought, with some success, to offer big money to smugglers who can
beat the embargo and get needed industrial and military equipment. This is a
risky business, and American and European prisons are full of Iranians, and
other nationals, who tried, and failed, to procure forbidden goods. The
smuggling operations are currently under more scrutiny, and attack, because of
Iran's growing nuclear weapons program. But the Iranians simply offer more
money, and more smugglers step up to keep the goodies coming.