WASHINGTON – Iran is successfully using front companies based in the Gulf region and Asia to import American technology that can be can have military use, The Washington Post reported on its website.
Citing US researchers and Justice Department documents, the newspaper said Iran in the past two years had acquired numerous banned items including circuit boards, software and Global Positioning System devices that are used to make sophisticated versions of the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that kill US troops in Iraq.
The trade was briefly disrupted after the United States imposed sanctions against several Dubai-based, Iranian front companies in 2006, but the technology pipeline to Tehran is now flowing at an even faster pace, the report said.
In some cases, Iran simply opened new front companies and shifted its operations from Dubai to Asia, said the paper, citing unnamed officials.
"Without doubt, it is still going on," the report quoted one former US intelligence official as saying.
Bomb circuitry is only a part of the global clandestine trade that continues to flourish, The Post said.
A federal investigation in New York into whether banks helped customers skirt US rules forbidding business with Iran turned up evidence of Iranian interests trying to buy tungsten and other materials used in the guidance systems of long-range missiles, the paper said.
British-based Lloyds TSB Bank agreed Friday to pay a 350 million dollar penalty to settle a probe that it illegally handled financial transfers for Iran and Sudan in violation of US sanctions.
A Justice Department statement said Lloyd's "has accepted and acknowledged responsibility for its criminal conduct" in a criminal complain filed in US District Court in New York.
"Lloyds agreed to forfeit the funds as part of deferred prosecution agreements with the Department of Justice and the New York County District Attorney's Office," the statement said.
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