Mohammad Faghihi’s wife and sister are also facing federal charges.
Jihad – it’s a family affair.
Prosecutors say a former University of Miami professor, his wife and his sister are facing federal charges related to purchasing genetic sequencing equipment from U.S. manufacturers and illegally shipping it to Iran.
Faghihi was the director of a laboratory within Shiraz University of Medical Science in Iran that was even named after him. It is called “Dr. Faghihi’s Medical Genetic Center.”
Local News 10: A criminal complaint says a Florida company operated by the family called Express Gene received numerous wire transfers from accounts overseas totaling almost $3.5 million between 2016 and 2020. The wire transfers came from various countries, including Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
According to federal prosecutors, some of the money received was used to purchase genetic sequencing equipment from U.S. manufacturers and ship them to Iran without a license, despite sanctions on Iran.
The person he allegedly sent the equipment to is a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2019.
Prosecutors said the money was also used by Faezeh Faghihi and Modarresi to fund the 2019 purchase of the Express Gene property.
Prosecutors said 17 vials of unknown biological substances covered with ice packs and concealed beneath bread and other food items were also found in his luggage. They said they later discovered that one of the vials contained multiple sources of DNA…….
Ex-UM professor charged with shipping genetic equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions
By: American Military News, September 19, 2021:
Since early this year, federal investigators have been building a case against a former University of Miami assistant professor suspected of doing business with Iran and violating U.S. sanctions against the Persian Gulf country.
Scientist Mohammad Faghihi almost slipped away at Miami International Airport, authorities say.
“He was literally about to board a plane on Monday when he was arrested,” federal prosecutor Michael Thakur said Wednesday at a court hearing, seeking Faghihi’s detention on the basis of being a flight risk to his home country, Iran.
Faghihi, 52, was arrested on conspiracy and related charges stemming from allegations that he shipped genetic sequencing equipment to the Iranian military without a required license from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Faghihi was in contact with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, which bought several genetic testing machines from his local business, Thakur said.
Faghihi’s defense attorney tried to downplay any illicit connection, saying the former UM medical school professor who lived in Pinecrest was a world-renowned scientist trying to help save humanity, not fuel a conflict with the United States.
“These are not biological weapons — this is not biological warfare,” lawyer Saam Zangeneh told a federal magistrate judge. “I understand Iran is on the axis of evil … but I think we’re looking at this in a vacuum.”
The judge, Jonathan Goodman, ordered Faghihi’s detention before trial. The judge said “he was surely aware of the need” for a Treasury Department license to ship the genetic sequencing equipment to Iran, had “multiple connections” to people in that country, and was personally communicating with someone in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
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Author: Pamela Geller
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