NEW YORK POST
Obama hid security threat of released prisoners in Iran deal
By Marisa Schultz
April 24, 2017 | 11:27am | Updated
The Obama administration hid the fact that the men it let off the hook as part of a prisoner swap with Iran had been accused of supplying sensitive military equipment and electronics that could help Tehran’s nuclear program, it was reported Monday.
Under the January 2016 deal, the US released seven prisoners and dropped its cases against 14 fugitives in exchange for Iran’s release of captive Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Politico reported.
Three of seven men freed by the US — Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi and Tooraj Faridi — had been charged with supplying Iran with US-built electronics and other equipment that could be used in military systems, including missiles, the news site said.
Another, Nima Golestaneh, was allegedly behind a conspiracy to steal sensitive information, including software, from a Vermont defense contractor.
Nader Modanlo was sentenced to eight years in federal prison in 2013 on charges stemming from a conspiracy to provide satellite technology to Tehran and of receiving $10 million to help Iran launch its first-ever satellite.
Arash Ghahreman, a naturalized US citizen living on Staten Island, was convicted in 2015 of heading an effort for Iran to obtain US technologies with possible military and weapons uses.
And Ali Saboonchi was convicted in 2014 of illegally shipping industrial parts and components to Iranian users.
Of the 14 fugitives whose cases were dropped, the worst was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who was charged with conspiring to procure thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Tehran, including hundreds of US-made pressure transducers for centrifuges used by Iran to enrich uranium, Politico reported.
Another was Amin Ravan, an agent for Tehran who was charged with smuggling US-made military antennae and IED parts to Hong Kong and Singapore for use in Iran.
In announcing the swap that secured the release of Rezaian, former Marine Amir Hekmati and three other Americans, President Barack Obama referred to the seven freed men only as “civilians” and did not mention the 14 fugitives.
Other Obama officials portrayed the seven as businessmen whose offenses were mere violations of trade sanctions.
“They didn’t just dismiss a bunch of innocent business guys,” one former federal law-enforcement supervisor who worked on the cases told Politico. “And then they didn’t give a full story of it.”
Republicans pounced on Monday’s disclosure, vowing to use it as a cudgel against Democrats who voted for the Iran deal.
“Senate Democrats gave Obama a blank check on Iran, allowing dangerous arms dealers and other threats to our national security to go free,” said Katie Martin, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senate Committed.
“Voters will remember that is was Democrats who made our country less safe by voting for former President Obama’s disastrous Iran deal when they head to the polls in 2018.”
READ MORE: http://nypost.com/2017/04/24/obama-hid-security-threat-of-released-prisoners-in-iran-deal/
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