Wednesday, December 17, 2008

US Nuclear Mole Who Stole Secrets For Iran Sentenced

Some of you may recall an article I wrote in 2007 about the arrest of Mohammed Reza Alavi, a naturalized US citizen from Iran who was a former engineer at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. He illegally took software codes, downloaded details of control rooms, reactors and designs of the nation's biggest nuclear plant on his personal laptop. Then he suddenly 'resigned' from his job at Palo Verde, returned to Iran and sold them to the Iranian government.

Apparently Alawi was planning to relocate permanently in Iran, where he's invested substantial money in an Iranian company and owns a house. And in Iran, that's a substantial investment, since the conceot of mortgages as we know them doesn't exist. He returned to the US to be with his wife who had just given birth, and according to the feds, this unemployed engineer deposited $98,000 into a U.S. bank account upon his return.

The good news is that he was caught. The bad, almost mind bogling news? He wasn't charged with espionage.

No, Alawi was convicted of violating the US/Iran trade embargo, which prohibits Americans from exporting goods and services to Iran. His sentences? Two terms of fifteen months each, which the judge is nice enough to let him serve concurrently.

No deportation, no long term incarceration, not even a fine to deprive him of the wealth he sold his adopted country for. He'll be out in a year with good behavior. And would you like to bet that he'll either run back to Iran or find new employment in America's nuclear industry?


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