The U.S. Justice Department has filed charges against four Chinese nationals for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to export American electronics to Iran. The accused individuals are accused of smuggling electronic components from the United States through China and Hong Kong, benefiting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terror organization.
The indictment names Baoxia Liu, Yiu Wa Yung, Yongxin Li, and Yanlai Zhong, alleging their unlawful activities of exporting and smuggling U.S. export-controlled items from 2007 to 2020. The defendants are said to have orchestrated a scheme using front companies in communist China to funnel dual-use technologies, including electronics and components that could be used in the production of drones and ballistic missile systems.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen stated, “For more than a decade, the defendants allegedly orchestrated a scheme to smuggle U.S. manufactured parts to the IRGC and the Iranian agency charged with developing ballistic missiles and UAVs.”
The smuggled products were then sold to sanctioned Iranian entities with ties to the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, overseeing the regime’s production of missiles and drones.
“These efforts to unlawfully obtain U.S. technology directly threaten our national security, and we will use every tool at our disposal to sever the illicit supply chains that fuel the Iranian regime’s malign activity,” Olsen added.
The accused individuals face charges related to violating U.S. sanctions and export control laws and regulations. This operation, coordinated by the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, is part of broader efforts to prevent critical technology from reaching authoritarian powers. The charges reflect the ongoing concerns about China’s role in supporting Iran and the potential impact on U.S. national security.
The global collaboration between China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, as highlighted by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizes the need for robust measures to counteract illegal technology transfers that threaten national security interests.