UPDATE: Department of Justice officials announced Thursday that 12 defendants – 7 individuals and 5 corporate entities – have been charged in Georgia federal court for their roles in an international operation to export military parts for fighter jets and helicopters to Iran.
Two U.S.-based companies and their respective presidents, charged in the original indictment, have already pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally export the aircraft parts. Iranian-born U.S. national Hamid Seifi was sentenced Wednesday to 56 months prison, and ordered to pay more than $160,000 in fines and forfeitures. Seifi's Illinois-based company must pay a $400 assessment. Michael Todd, president of the Florida-based The Parts Guys LLC, is expected to be sentenced in August.
Additionally, eight entities and individuals based in France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran are charged in a newly unsealed superceding indictment in the case. All of the foreign defendants, who were charged with violating export and commerce regulations, remain at large. The U.S. announced it will add all of the foreign entities to the Commerce Department's "entity list."
Reza Kahili, a former member of the Revolutionary Guard who later became a spy for the CIA, reported on Fox News that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps recently acquired two nuclear capable warheads. The Guard obtained these weapons through a joint project with the Ukraine, Pakistan, and China, he said, highlighting China's growing role in countering U.S. anti-proliferation efforts.
"The Ukrainians provided the design for the warheads," Kahili said. "The Chinese and Pakistanis delivered the technology, machining and tooling. The Iranian Ministry of Defense coordinated the interface with all three."
Iran has also improved its launch capabilities, recently placing a data-gathering satellite into space with its powerful Safir booster rocket. The move will accelerate Iran's program for intercontinental ballistic missiles, bypassing the U.N.'s efforts to control the Islamic Republic and giving it the capability to hit the United States, according to analysis on UPI.
James Phillips, a senior researcher on the Middle East at the Heritage Foundation, noted that all three of these countries have seperately sold sensitive technology to Iran in the past. Reports from last October revealed that the Obama administration had discovered that Chinese firms were helping Iran to improve their missile technology and develop nuclear weapons. Although the Obama administration has asked China to stop this kind of activity, the U.S. has been more forceful with Pakistan, threatening sanctions if the government continues to support Iran's nuclear ambitions.
China was "involved in Iran's missile delivery industry and nuclear bomb project on two fronts: one, acting as a back channel for Iran and North Korea in their collaboration on ballistic and intercontinental missiles and; two, by providing material needed to build those missiles and further the advancement of nuclear weaponization," Kahili said.
According to an agreement between the Revolutionary Guard and the Ministry of Defense, eight more nuclear capable warheads will be delivered to the Revolutionary Guards within the next ten months.
Kahili also reported that foreign imports are adding to Iran's domestic nuclear weapon industry. Based on reports received by the Green Movement of Iran, the range of missiles produced by Iran's Ministry of Defense has increased. It is now said that the missiles can now travel up to 2,000 miles. Phillips also stated "Iran's missile development program appears to be even more aggressive than its nuclear weapons program."
"For years I have worked very hard to bring awareness to Western leaders that the Iranian regime is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb" Kahili said. "This is a messianic regime that truly believes it is their duty to Allah to destroy Israel and America."
Iran's regime has also participated in weapons smuggling of its own, according to a new report submitted to the U.N. Security Council three weeks ago. The report identifies 10 separate incidents in recent years, including weapons transfers to Hamas, training and arming Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and other arms shipments to Syria.