Iranian UN mission consultant charged with evading sanctions
NEW YORK (AP) — A consultant to Iran's United Nations mission accused of circumventing U.S. sanctions against Iran has been arrested on tax and money laundering charges.
The indictment against Ahmad Sheikhzadeh, of New York City, was unsealed Wednesday. He was released from Brooklyn federal court on $3 million bail and ordered to be placed under electronic monitoring.
The indictment said Sheikhzadeh, 60, helped two co-conspirators in the United States violate sanctions against Iran by pursuing investments in the Middle East country.
It said he failed to obtain permission from the U.S. Treasury Department to authorize his interactions with Iran, thus violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act that was enacted to limit interactions between the countries.
According to the indictment, he violated the act from October 2007 through May 2013 when he engaged in financial transactions.
Sheikhzadeh's attorney, Steve Zissou, said his client is a "patriotic American."
"His work at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations was consistent with his lifelong goal of building a bridge of friendship between the United States and Iran so that the two countries might live in peace and harmony," Zissou said. "Sadly, the charges that were filed will make it impossible for him to continue that work and will only make it less likely that his hope for the future will ever be realized."
Iran's U.N. mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Associated Press writer Cara Anna contributed to this report.