If you follow the new filings of Federal criminal cases, you know that there has been a steady stream of arrests of Iranian government agents, who reside in the United States and Canada, for violations of American and international sanctions existing against Iran. What is disturbing is that the defendants generally are lawful permanent residents of North America. What's wrong with this picture ?
We understand that it is the public policy of the two North American democracies to encourage emigration by Iranian nationals for human rights, and political, reasons, but it appears that intelligence agents are slipping through the cracks, and installing themselves in our midst, where sanctions evasion operations are most easily accomplished.
When Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, the CEO and owner of Malta's now-closed Pilatus Bank, was arrested in the US, we asked ourselves how was it that he was here. We do not have access to classified information, but how a 32-year old man with no banking background owned a bank with €300m in deposits, and is suspected of being an intelligence agent for Iran, obtained a "Green Card," was puzzling. Wasn't he thoroughly investigated by US Government agencies ? It appears that public filings confirm that there had been a long-term investigation of Sadr, prior to his indicment and arrest. Didn't Immigration find it ?
It turns out that his second wife, Amitis Darabnia, is a Persian-American attorney, and before he divorced her, he obtained Permanent Residency in America. Obviously, whoever conducted the usual background investigation upon his, prior to the issuance of the Green Card, failed to uncover the truth. Now multiply that case times a few hunded, and you will arrive at the estimate that there are a large number of Iranian intelligence agents operating in North America, with impunity.
We note that the Canadian media recently warned of the presence of Iranian agents living within Canada ; our recent story about the US arrest of sanctions evader Bahram Karimi, who is a legal Canadian resident, confirms the story.
How many Iranian intelligence agents are living and "working" among us in the US & Canada, we wonder, moving dual-use products circuitously into Iran, selling oil, and acquiring US Dollars ? We cannot say, but the matter deserves immediate attention.