April 14, 2024
The man pleaded guilty to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, authorities said.

ALAMO — An East Bay telecommunications consultant pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he violated U.S. sanctions against Iran while exporting software upgrades for commercial-grade telecommunications servers to the country, authorities said.

Farhad Nafeiy, 70, of Alamo, entered the plea after federal authorities filed a charge that he violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, according to a statement from Ismael J. Ramsey, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California. Nafeiy also pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, Ramsey said.

U.S. District Judge Araceli Martinez-Olguin scheduled Nafeiy’s sentencing for Jan. 29, 2024. Ramsey said Nafeiy could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison for violating the IEEPA and five years in prison for the tax evasion, with additional fines of up to $1.25 million.

According to Ramsey, the IEEPA banned certain activities and transactions with Iran after a finding by the President that the country was an “extraordinary” threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the nation’s economy. Ramsey said the sanctions on Iran prohibit exporting or facilitating the export of U.S.-origin products to Iran and providing the country with support services.

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Ramsey said Nafeiy obtained licenses from the Office of Foreign Assets Control — a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department — for advising non-Iranian telecommunications companies on doing business with Iran but that the licenses did not authorize him to to provide any hardware, software or technology directly to the country.

Nafeiy in the plea agreement admitted that he knew he violated the terms of the license by doing so, and that he sold $400,000 worth of upgrades, Ramsey said. He added that the guilty plea to income tax evasion came from that unreported money.