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US angry at French acquittal of Iranian

8 May 2010 8:21

The US Department of Justice has angrily objected to a French court ruling that acquitted Iranian businessman Majid Kakavand of all charges of violating US trade sanctions against Iran.

“Although we’re disappointed by the French court ruling, we will continue to seek justice in this matter,” Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement following Kakavand’s acquittal.

“Efforts to apprehend Kakavand are ongoing and should he come into US custody, he will stand trial for his alleged crimes,” he added, claiming that Washington officials had “provided French authorities with detailed analyses of Kakavand’s conduct, of the applicable US laws and provisions of the treaty that we felt supported his extradition to the United States.”

At the behest of the US government, French authorities arrested Kakavand in March 2009 on charges of illegally exporting military technology to Iran.

The provisional arrest warrant claimed that Kakavand had used his company in Malaysia to order electronic components from American firms and ship them to Iran.

Since then, White House officials have pushed hard for the businessman’s extradition to the United States, but their demands were turned down by French authorities who found that, contrary to US claims, the items Kakavand exported to Iran did not involve dual-use technology applicable to military equipment.

Following the findings, Kakavand was acquitted of all charges and released from jail.

The 37-year-old Iranian, who arrived in Tehran early on Saturday, says he will sue the US government for what his lawyers insist to be fabricated documents to support the case for his extradition.

“Given that I have spent fourteen months in jail on false charges, it is my legal right to sue the US authorities as soon as possible,” said Kakavand, who arrived in Tehran early Saturday, IRNA reported.

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