Sharif University professor arrested by FBI

Oct 18, 2002
11,593
2
#1
http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/52808010?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has arrested and charged an Iranian semiconductor scientist with violating U.S. export laws by buying high-tech U.S. lab equipment, a development likely to further worsen Iranian-U.S. tensions.

Prison records show the U.S. has been holding Seyed Mojtaba Atarodi, 54, a microchip expert and assistant professor at Tehran's prestigious Sharif University of Technology, in a federal facility outside San Francisco. The Iranian interest section in the Pakistani embassy in Washington said it was aware of the arrest.

Atarodi arrived at a bond hearing in federal district court in San Francisco on Thursday wearing a green jump suit and politely bowed to his attorney. Before the hearing began, the judge closed the courtroom except to attorneys and members of the family. He was detained Dec. 7 after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles.
Following the 10-minute hearing, Atarodi's family said he was scheduled for release on bail subject to electronic monitoring. He is being released, they said, in part for medical reasons. The scientist has suffered two heart attacks, a stroke and has undergone two heart surgeries in the last 14 months.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Kearney declined comment. Neither would other U.S. law enforcement officials discuss Atarodi's case. Records indicate the charges have been sealed.

But a Sharif University spokesman said he has been charged with buying scientific instruments from the United States. The university official spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the potential repercussions of the case.

The arrest comes as the U.S., Israel and their allies are using diplomacy, sanctions and intelligence efforts to try to cripple what they suspect is Iran's drive to lay the foundations of a nuclear weapons program.

Atarodi is listed as the author or coauthor of dozens of scientific papers dealing with microchip technology, though none appears to be explicitly related to military work. U.S. officials in the past have targeted suspected export control violators dealing in so-called dual-use technology, which can have both civilian and military applications.

The Sharif University spokesman said Atarodi was engaged only in civilian research. "The fact of the matter is that he was just a professor, and he was trying to buy some equipment for his lab, and the equipment was very, very simple, ridiculously simple stuff that anybody can buy," the spokesman said.

Atarodi's lawyer Matthew David Kohn said his client was treated well while in custody and that the prison officials stayed on top of his health concerns. Kohn said prosecutors "meticulously" built their case against Atarodi, who had come to Los Angeles seeking treatment from his brother's cardiologist.

The arrest of an Iranian scientist in a U.S. embargo case is rare, with most involving low-level middlemen living in the U.S. recruited to act as fronts for purchasers in Iran.

But Iranian researchers in recent years have become central figures in the struggle between Tehran and the West over the country's extensive nuclear programs, which the International Atomic Energy Agency says has included arms-related research.

At least four Iranian scientists have died under mysterious circumstances over about the past two years, and Israel is suspected of playing a role in the attacks.

In the most recent incident, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a chemist and official at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant, was killed by a car bomb Jan. 11, reportedly while on his way to a memorial service for a scientist slain a year earlier.

For years, Iran has insisted it is only interested in the peaceful uses of atomic energy and has resisted United Nation demands that it abandon its extensive uranium enrichment efforts. Enrichment technology can be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors or fissile material for bombs.

The U.S. and Israel, meanwhile, are believed to have recruited Iranian scientists as agents or encouraged them to defect. Some other Iranian researchers say they have been subject to harassment.

Dr. Fredun Hojabri, a former vice chancellor of Sharif University who now lives in the U.S., noted that friction between the U.S. and Iran has long posed problems for Iran's scientists.

Hojabri cited an incident in 2006 when more than 50 researchers, executives and engineers from Iran headed for a forum on disaster management in Santa Clara, Calif., were detained and expelled after their arrival because their visas were revoked. The event was organized by a Sharif University alumni group.
 
Oct 18, 2002
11,593
2
#2
Hope this issue is resolved for him. if they go after anyone who buys a US-made product in Iran, half the country would end up in US jails.
 

Niloufar

Football Legend
Oct 19, 2002
29,626
23
#3
oh jeesus he is a semiconductor scientist,what does it have to do with "Nuclear" Iran or Iran military?! + no bisavad hezbollahi can be a professor at Sharif Uni.

Its pathetic, on one hand, they host terrorists AN and Mashaei day-in day-out to NY, but they cant stand a technology scientist traveling with his family!
 

Mahdi

Well-known member
Jan 1, 1970
6,993
496
Mjunik
#5
He works at Sharif but is arrested in San Francisco? I think there are 3 missing pieces of information.
If you had read the article, you would get the 3 missing pieces.

Keep on trolling in the free world

(random rant...yes, General 4payan is a troll...so is this guy. How about some random anti-trolling-love for him? He isn't that much less annoying than 4payan)
 
Sep 25, 2004
8,617
2
30
Toronto
#6
no bisavad hezbollahi can be a professor at Sharif Uni.
oh yes they can...what do you take Sharif as? You think it's a school of brilliant well dressed good looking young men who oppose the government and islam in every way possible?

furthermore, what makes you think no hezbollahi studies hard and gets to high academic positions?
 
Aug 27, 2005
8,688
0
Band e 209
#7
The day they established Department of Homeland Security and passed Patriot Act. what ever was left of justice was wiped out clean.

Even if we concur that what ever this professor has been doing was against the law his actions are considered as "White Color Crime" and he should not be treated like a felon.

BTW: Where is NIAC? You would think with the amount of money they gobble and influential friends like senators, congressmen and other Washington hotshots they could at least go there and make some noise.
 
Oct 18, 2002
11,593
2
#8
He works at Sharif but is arrested in San Francisco? I think there are 3 missing pieces of information.
Seems he went there for medical treatment for his heart condition. According to the article his brother lives in California and he himself was a graduate of US Irvine.

It seems the arrest is related to the equipment he had bought for his lab in the past.
 

Flint

Legionnaire
Jan 28, 2006
7,016
0
United States
#9
If you had read the article, you would get the 3 missing pieces.Keep on trolling in the free world(random rant...yes, General 4payan is a troll...so is this guy. How about some random anti-trolling-love for him? He isn't that much less annoying than 4payan)
Something bothering you buddy? Oh, I did read the article and no it doesn't say how he ended up here.
 

mashdi

Football Legend
Sep 29, 2005
39,274
1
#10
Even if we concur that what ever this professor has been doing was against the law his actions are considered as "White Color Crime" and he should not be treated like a felon.
I wouldn't be surprised if this guy's arrest and prosecution is a case of " tit for tat " for IRI's arrest and prosecution of that US Citizen charged with espionage.and i wouldn't be surprised if the fate of that guy determines the fate of this guy in the future.
 

Mahdi

Well-known member
Jan 1, 1970
6,993
496
Mjunik
#11
Something bothering you buddy? Oh, I did read the article and no it doesn't say how he ended up here.
I ain't your buddy mafudger. If you don't understand how he ended up there, maybe you should take some English classes at your local community college. But anyway, he ended up there by plane.
 

Mahdi

Well-known member
Jan 1, 1970
6,993
496
Mjunik
#12
I wouldn't be surprised if this guy's arrest and prosecution is a case of " tit for tat " for IRI's arrest and prosecution of that US Citizen charged with espionage.and i wouldn't be surprised if the fate of that guy determines the fate of this guy in the future.
Yeah but I wouldn't be surprised if IR doesn't really give a damn about him
 

Flint

Legionnaire
Jan 28, 2006
7,016
0
United States
#14
I ain't your buddy mafudger. If you don't understand how he ended up there, maybe you should take some English classes at your local community college. But anyway, he ended up there by plane.
Nice language. And you are a "manager" here? You could have just said you don't know either and avoided embarrassing yourself again.
 
Feb 22, 2005
6,880
9
#15
Sad story. The guy is just a professor who has published many articles. You would think scientists even in this country knowing about it would protect and try to get him free.
 

Niloufar

Football Legend
Oct 19, 2002
29,626
23
#16
oh yes they can...what do you take Sharif as? You think it's a school of brilliant well dressed good looking young men who oppose the government and islam in every way possible?
well it actually is Shahed. has nothing to do with the looks, but pretty much only brilliant ppl can make it to Sharif Uni. and as studies has proven, generally those who are highly educated hardly believe in any khorafat or govt-control like IR!
furthermore, what makes you think no hezbollahi studies hard and gets to high academic positions?
well they can get there with "party-bazi", sahmieye "shahid",etc!! but having seen some of them among my classmates back in Iran, they are pretty much behind academically, with all their focus on religious studies! Sharif Uni isnt the right place for them, and they know it too! whether discriminating hypocrite U.S govt wants to categorize all Uni profs with the same label, thats another issue..