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Seattle-Based Federal Agents Investigate Alleged Iranian Nuclear-Related Supply Network

Derek Wang

Seattle–based Homeland Security agents are investigating an alleged conspiracy. Officials allege the conspiracy was led by an Iranian man who was trying to obtain materials that would help enrich uranium. That's according to an indictment that was made public Friday.


Law enforcement sources close to the case say they first learned of the alleged conspiracy from an unnamed company in the Pacific Northwest. They say the company supplies specialized in high–strength steel. The sources say the company had been contacted by a Chinese national, Zongchen Yi. They say Yi wanted to buy 20 tons of steel to make toys.

The sources say the request was suspicious because for toys it's expensive and it's used to make nuclear centrifuges. So that's when the company alerted federal agents. Sources said the agents investigated and worked undercover. They posed as businessmen who could supply the steel to Yi.

They said the deals never happened because Yi never came up with any money.

According to court documents, Yi was allegedly working with an Iranian man named Parviz Khaki. Prosecutors allege that Yi and Khaki sought to illegally obtain the materials from the US, ship them to China and then send them to Iran.

Khaki was arrested in the Philippines in May at the request of the US. Yi remains at large.

In a written statement, the assistant attorney general for National Security says, "The indictment sheds light on the reach of Iran's illegal procurement networks."

Derek Wang, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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