Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez greets (L) Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at Miraflores Palace in Caracas April 20, 2007.
A former engineer at the largest U.S. nuclear power plant was arrested on suspicion of taking software codes and using them to download details of plant control rooms and reactors while in Iran, officials said on Saturday.
The software involved was used to train plant operators and there was no indication of a terrorist connection, said Deborah McCarley, an FBI spokeswoman in Phoenix.
There have been a goodly number of Iranian nationals who have gained United States citizenship since the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970’s.
Flap suggests we are at war with Iran and background checks must be scrutinized like those in the Cold War.
The FBI arrested Mohammad Alavi, who worked at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station outside Phoenix, earlier this month at Los Angeles International Airport when he arrived on a flight from Iran, she said.
He is charged with a single count of violating a trade embargo that bars Americans from exporting goods and services to Iran.
Electronic records show that Alavi’s name and password were used to download software registration in October 2006 from a computer in Tehran, according to an FBI affidavit.
Alavi, 49, a U.S. citizen who was born in Tehran, denies wrongdoing, his lawyer, Milagros Cisneros, told the Arizona Republic newspaper.
On Friday a federal judge in Phoenix denied Alavi bail, saying he posed a substantial flight risk, the newspaper reported.
Alavi is accused of removing the software — which mimics plant operations — before he quit his job at Palo Verde last August. Export of the software, without prior authorization, is illegal, according to the affidavit.
Alavi faces up to 21 months in prison if convicted of the charge, according to the Arizona Republic.
Lock this idiot/traitor away and scrutinize (spelled profile) other nuclear workers.
Of course, Mohammad pled not guilty.
The Natanz uranium enrichment complex in Natanz is pictured in this January 2, 2006 satellite image.
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