Skip to main content

Spain arrests four accused of attempting to export equipment to Iran

By Al Goodman, CNN
updated 8:39 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Officials say technology could be used to make missile parts or enrich uranium
  • Sanctions prohibit export of certain machinery to Iran
  • Iranian, three Spaniards face charges and possible prison sentences

Madrid (CNN) -- An Iranian and three Spaniards who secretly tried to export to Iran industrial equipment that could be used to make missile parts or enrich uranium have been arrested in Spain, the Civil Guard said Monday in a statement.

The European Union and the United States ban the export to Iran of certain dual-use machinery and technology that could be used to aid Iran's military program.

The four suspects were arrested April 1. The Iranian man, 47, was detained in Palma de Mallorca on Spain's Balearic Islands, and a judge remanded him to prison April 3 on suspicion of contraband in dual-use material, belonging to a criminal organization and money laundering, said a Civil Guard captain with the intelligence division, who spoke on condition of not being identified.

The three Spaniards are from the same family. The father, in his 70s, and a son, in his 40s, were arrested in Tarragona, in eastern Spain. A daughter, in her 40s, was arrested in nearby Barcelona. They face the same preliminary charges, but the judge released them on the condition that they do not leave Spain and report regularly to authorities, the captain said.

The charges carry potential prison terms of about 10 years, he said.

The investigation began last year when the Civil Guard detected that two metal-forming "dual use" industrial machines had been illegally imported into Spain. The three Spanish suspects were administrators of the import firm, the captain said.

Authorities later determined that the machines had been acquired from a company that works in the defense sector in the United Kingdom and had been brought to Spain with the aim of waiting for an opportune time to secretly send them to Iran, violating international sanctions against Iran for the development of its nuclear and missile programs.

Authorities seized two metal-forming industrial machines, which could be used to make missile casings or equipment to aid in the enrichment of uranium, the captain said.

The Civil Guard also seized abundant documentation about exports and the sale of defense and double-use equipment, as well as a large amount of computer data that is being studied, the statement said.

In January 2013, national police arrested two people in northern Spain and seized a trailer truck carrying 44 valves made of nickel and chromium alloy that were intended for export to be used for Iran's nuclear program, the Interior Ministry said at the time.

Spain suspends sale of riot gear to Venezuela

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT