Man pleads guilty to shipping banned equipment to Iran

An Iranian man pleaded guilty today in Los Angeles to a federal conspiracy charge for shipping prohibited machinery—including attempts from the Port of Long Beach—to Iran in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and U.S. sanctions imposed on the nation.

Mehdi “Eddie” Hashemi, a former Los Angeles resident and dual citizen of the United States and Iran, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez to a single count of conspiring to violate IEEPA.

The judge set sentencing for April 13, at which time Hashemi faces up to 20 years behind bars and a possible $1 million fine, according to the government’s sentencing memorandum.

Hashemi, 46, participated in a conspiracy to illegally export to Iran computer numerical control machines, which are used to process raw materials, such as metals, to precise standards. The machines are export-controlled for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons, according to the U.S.Attorney’s Office.

The 21-count indictment describes a scheme in which Hashemi purchased the numerical control machines and related equipment from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada, made arrangements to ship the machines to the United Arab Emirates under false and forged invoices and packing lists, and then arranged to forward the machines from the UAE to Iran. Hashemi purchased the machines on behalf of a Tehran-based company identified in the indictment as Company A, an outfit that claimed to manufacture textiles, medical and automotive components, and spare parts, federal prosecutors said.

The indictment details illegal shipments of the machines and related equipment to the UAE and contends that Hashemi knew and intended for them to be forwarded to Iran. Federal prosecutors also allege that Hashemi attempted to export the equipment on several occasions, including two attempts through the Port of Long Beach.

Hashemi was additionally charged with making false statements to federal authorities in 2018 when he allegedly lied about his activities, his knowledge of federal export laws and his intention to send the numerical control machines to Iran.

A second defendant charged in the indictment—Feroz Khan of theUnited Arab Emirates, who allegedly helped to ship the machines from the UAE toIran—is a fugitive, federal authorities said.

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