Eight Iranians jailed or facing charges in the United States for sanctions violations are to be released under an exchange deal for Americans held in Iran, according to a lawyer, court records and people familiar with the matter.
The following is information on the eight Iranians:
* President Barack Obama has pardoned Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi, and Tooraj Faridi, a lawyer for one of the men said. The men were charged in 2015 of shipping electronics to Iran. Mechanic and Afghahi were both being held in a Houston jail awaiting trial. Faridi, an employee at Mechanic’s electronics company, was out on bail. Citing “significant foreign policy interests,” U.S. prosecutors have also already filed a motion to drop charges against a fourth man in the case, Matin Sadeghi, who is out of the country and authorities have considered a fugitive.
* U.S. authorities are moving to commute the sentence of Ali Saboonchi, a U.S. citizen and resident of Maryland, who was convicted of export violations in 2014, accoring to people familiar with the matter. He is currently serving a two-year sentence in Virginia and had been due to be released in November 2016. Between 2009 and 2013, Saboonchi and several associates tried to export industrial parts to customers in Iran, according to an indictment filed in 2013.
* The U.S. Justice Department moved to drop charges against Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who was accused in 2014 of helping to ship thousands of Chinese manufactured parts “with nuclear applications” to Iran. Jamili was also accused of exporting to Iran U.S.-built pressure transducers, used in nuclear centrifuges. In a filing early on Saturday morning, prosecutors asked to dismiss charges against Jamili, “based upon issues regarding securing extradition of the defendant and significant foreign policy interests.”
* Alireza Moazami Goudarzi was charged in 2012 of trying to purchase aircraft parts from a U.S. supplier for shipment to Iran. He was arrested in Malaysia in 2012 in connection with the case, and the United States was seeking his extradition, according to the Justice Department.
* Prosecutors also moved to drop charges on Saturday against Koorush Taherkhani, who lives in Iran. Taherkhani was accused in 2014 of using a Dubai front company to buy U.S.-made marine navigation equipment for use in Iran, in violation of sanctions.