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U.S. Charges Taiwan Citizen Over Iran Exports

MIAMI (Reuters) -- U.S. federal agents have arrested a Taiwan passport holder on charges of illegally exporting commodities for Iran's missile program in violation of U.S. sanctions, authorities in south Florida said.

Yi-Lan Chen, 40, was arrested on February 3 in the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam on a warrant from the Southern District of Florida, the district's U.S. attorney said.

The complaint charges that Chen, in violation of the U.S. embargo against Iran, facilitated the purchase and export of various dual-use goods from the United States to Iran by way of Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Those goods included turbine engines and spare parts, sealing compound, glass-to-metal pin seals and circular hermetic connectors that could be used in Iran's military and aerospace industries, the U.S. complaint said.

"Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism and remains subject to United States, United Nations and European Union economic sanctions and export controls because of its continued involvement in terrorism and its nuclear weapons ambitions," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Jeffrey Sloman said in a statement.

"The dual use items allegedly exported in this case could easily be used in missile development and other military components. Such conduct poses a serious threat to our national security," he added.

U.S. authorities said the investigation revealed that Chen's ultimate customers for the dual-use exports listed in the complaint were all in Iran.

If convicted, Chen faces a sentence of up to 20 years' imprisonment and possible fines of up to $1 million.