Spain’s Civil Guard, its national police force, announced on Monday the arrest of four men for attempting to export “dual use” technology to Iran.
According to CNN, the suspects, three Spaniards and one Iranian, were charged with “suspicion of contraband in dual-use material, belonging to a criminal organization and money laundering.” The Iranian remains in custody, while the Spaniards were released but may not leave the country and must report to authorities.
The investigation began last year when the Civil Guard detected that two metal-forming “dual use” industrial machines had been illegally imported into Spain. The three Spanish suspects were administrators of the import firm, the captain said.
Authorities later determined that the machines had been acquired from a company that works in the defense sector in the United Kingdom and had been brought to Spain with the aim of waiting for an opportune time to secretly send them to Iran, violating international sanctions against Iran for the development of its nuclear and missile programs.
While the machines in question have industrial uses, a Civil Guard source told CNN, that they could also “be used to make missile casings or equipment to aid in the enrichment of uranium.” American and European sanctions ban the export of “certain dual-use machinery and technology that could be used to aid Iran’s military program.”
In February 2013, Spain arrested three suspects, including an employee of the Iranian embassy in Madrid, for reporting on Iranian dissidents to the regime. A month earlier Spanish authorities seized “44 valves made of a nickel and chromium alloy” that were ticketed for Iran. The valves were suitable for a nuclear program due to their resistance to corrosion.
The arrest of the four men for attempting to circumvent sanctions on Iran comes at a time when Iran’s global threat and defiance of sanctions have recently been in the news. Details have recently come to light of an Iranian-Russian oil deal that would undermine sanctions, German authorities banning a charity that supported the Iranian backed terror organization Hezbollah, and Israel intercepting an Iranian sponsored arms-laden ship headed for Gaza.
[Photo: M-ATF / WikiCommons ]