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Page last updated at 00:56 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 01:56 UK

Businessman pleads guilty to banned US exports to Iran

A picture obtained from Iran's Fars news agency showing an Iranian-made Noor (Light) ground-to-sea missile - 11 May 2010
Exports to Iran with potential military uses are banned by the US

A Taiwanese businessman has pleaded guilty in a US court to attempting to ship banned missile parts to Iran.

Yi-Lan Chen was arrested in the US Pacific territory of Guam trying to ship thousands of components with dual military and civilian use.

Such exports to Iran are banned under a US embargo.

The Justice Department said the US-made parts "could make a significant contribution to the military or nuclear potential of other nations".

According to the US Department of Commerce, Mr Chen had organised at least 30 banned shipments to Iran in the last three years.

Agents became aware of his activities and set up an undercover operation to investigate.

He was caught in Guam in February trying to take possession of 8,500 glass-to-metal seals and 120 connectors in order to ship them to Iran.

According to prosecutors, he told the American suppliers they were bound for Hong Kong or Taiwan.

Mr Chen, 40, faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing in July. He and the company he worked for, Landstar Tech Co, both face a fine of $1m (£685,000).

His arrest comes as Washington is leading a push for another round of international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

Tehran says its programme is for civilian purposes, but the US and some of its allies say Iran is trying to acquire the capacity to build atomic weapons.



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