Iranian satellite case in NY takes complex turn

AP News
Posted: Feb 13, 2014 3:16 AM

HOPEWELL, Va. (AP) — A wealthy Iranian entrepreneur is challenging a 30-month prison sentence for conspiring to illegally export satellite equipment to Iran.

Seyed Amin Ghorashi Sarvestani pleaded guilty in New York last May.

But the federal government issued a new license that his lawyers say approved for export the products he was convicted of helping ship. Federal prosecutors said after sentencing that they had mistakenly exaggerated the technology's capabilities.

The case illustrates the complexity of laws where banned actions may later become legal, and where one government priority — controlling exports to protect national security — can brush up against another, promoting Internet freedom for Iranians.

A judge has said the sentence was based on multiple factors. Prosecutors haven't taken a position on whether the technology is now legal for export.