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Glendale man sentenced for illegal shipments to Iran

July 07, 2011|By Jason Wells, jason.wells@latimes.com

A 59-year-old Glendale man was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison for his role in shipping vacuum pump equipment that could be used in nuclear projects to Iran.

Jiraiir Avanessian was accused, along with two other Iranian men, of violating a trade embargo and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for smuggling the specialized vacuum and pump equipment via a free-trade zone in the United Arab Emirates, according to an indictment.

He pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges last year.

Avanessian was also accused of laundering more than $500,000 from the scheme, using international money transfers to his U.S. bank account.

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Avanessian, who has a degree in chemical sciences, was arrested at his Glendale home in January 2010.

In sentencing Avanessian, the federal judge reportedly acknowledged that the defendant may not have had nuclear ambitions, but that he did knowingly violate international trade laws.

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