A former assistant professor at the University of Miami has been charged with exporting genetic sequencing equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions, the Miami Herald reports.
Mohammad Faghihi, his wife, and his sister were charged with conspiring to commit an offense against the United States and conspiring to commit money laundering, according to the Associated Press. It adds that Faghihi and his family ran a Florida company called Express Gene, which prosecutors allege received millions of dollars in wire transfers from accounts across the world that were in part used to purchase sequencing equipment to send to Iran without the needed license from the US government, violating sanctions.
According to the Herald, prosecutors further allege that Faghihi was in contact with a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Faghihi's lawyer, according to the Herald, say he was not trying to start a conflict, but help humanity. "These are not biological weapons — this is not biological warfare," Saam Zangeneh, his attorney, told a federal magistrate judge, according to the Herald. "I understand Iran is on the axis of evil ... but I think we're looking at this in a vacuum."