Trial starts for man tied to Iran’s nukes
United Press International reported on Thursday that the first-ever trial of a Canadian accused of trying to ship to Iran equipment that could be used in the building of a nuclear weapon has begun in Toronto. Mahmoud Yadegari, arrested in April 2009, is the first person charged in Canada under the United Nations Act for trying to send devices to Iran that could be used to build nuclear weapons, the Toronto Star reported Wednesday. He also faces nine other counts under the Criminal Code, Customs Act, the Export and Import Permits Act, and Canada’s Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Prosecutors accused the Iranian-born businessman of using his home-based company to try to export to Iran two of 10 pressure transducers via Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The instruments, which convert pressure measurements into electrical signals for electronic devices, have civilian uses but can be used when enriching uranium for nuclear weapons, officials said. Prosecutors have asked the judge to allow some admissions Yadegari made to police while in custody.
’Mr. Yadegari is going to testify that he was threatened and this is not a voluntary statement,’ his lawyer, Frank Addario, told Justice Cathy Mocha in a hearing outside of the Wednesday. Yadegari did not confess during a police interrogation, but later admitted to officers during a nightly check that he received several hundred dollars per sale, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Kelly Helowka testified. Among other things, Yadegari told officers he was instructed to hide that the ultimate destination for the devices was Iran, Helowka said, characterizing the man’s remarks as a ’spontaneous declaration,’ not a statement. The case has drawn international attention, including a proposal by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad that Yadegari be included in a swap of Iranians in U.S. prisons for three U.S. hikers held in Tehran.
Man hanged in central Iran
Iran Focus reported on Friday that the Iranian regime hung a man in the central city of Isfahan, state media reported on Friday. The state-run news agency Fars identified the man only by his first name Mohammad. He was accused of murder. Two other men, identified only by their first names Azizollah and Morteza, were hung in a prison in Isfahan earlier this week. Amnesty International says Iran carried out the highest number of executions in 2009 after China.