Iranian jailed in US for smuggling returns home
TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse
Iranian women pass by an anti-US mural on their way to participate in an anti-US rally marking the 33rd anniversary of US Embassy takeover in front of the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran, 02 November 2012. EPA photoAn Iranian convicted in the United States for smuggling equipment that under US law could be used for Iran's nuclear programme has returned home after serving a three-year sentence, media reported on Sunday.
Amir Hossein Seirafi, presented as a businessman by Iranian media, was arrested in January 2010 in Frankfurt, on charges of smuggling specialised vacuum pumps to Iran in violation of US sanctions.
It was alleged the equipment could be used in the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities, the English-language "Iran" daily said.
The US and its allies fear Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, but the Islamic republic insists that its atomic programme is entirely peaceful.
US law prohibits the export of such technology to Iran without a licence.
Seirafi was later extradited from Germany to the US, where he was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty.
"I was found guilty of having served my country," the paper quoted Seirafi as saying upon his arrival back home.
He also blamed a "lack of justice" in the US judicial process, and claimed he had been set up.
"People like me who are intent on serving their nation become victims of the fabrication of lies by the United States," the official IRNA new agency quoted him as saying.
Many Iranians are being held in the US for violating either international embargoes on the sale of sensitive equipment to Iran, or economic sanctions imposed by Washington against Tehran over its nuclear drive.
A number of them have been arrested in other countries before being extradited to the US.
In December a former diplomat, Nasrollah Tajik, who is wanted by the US for alleged arms smuggling to Iran, returned home after being held in Britain for six years.
A British court had ruled against his extradition to the United States.
Iran is subject to four sanctions resolutions by the UN Security Council, in addition to a unilateral economic and oil embargo adopted by Western powers.