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Page last updated at 21:29 GMT, Wednesday, 2 September 2009 22:29 UK

'Iran arms dealer' arrested in US

Iranian technicians at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facilities, 2005
The US has imposed sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme

US officials have arrested a Belgian man on charges he sought to smuggle fighter jet engines to Iran.

Justice Department officials say Jacques Monsieur, 56, was suspected of international arms dealing for decades.

He was arrested on Friday in New York after allegedly offering an undercover agent hundreds of thousands of dollars for F-5 fighter jet engines and parts.

Under a trade embargo, the items cannot be exported to Iran without express permission from the US government.

Mr Monsieur, a resident of France, was captured after a six-month international sting operation.

He is due in court in southern Alabama on Wednesday and faces six counts of violating the arms control act, smuggling, money-laundering and conspiracy.

Some of the charges carry maximum sentences of 20 years in jail.

United States officials allege Mr Monsieur had wired $110,000 (£68,000) to a bank account in Alabama in July as payment for F-5 fighter jet parts and had promised another $300,000 as down payment for two more engines.

The parts could have been used as replacements in the aging military jets sold to Iran by the US before the 1979 Iranian revolution.

A co-defendant in the case, Iranian Dara Fotouhi, 54, remains on the run, US officials said.



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