Canadian company charged with breaching Iran sanctions law

CALGARY, Alberta Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:21pm EDT

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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A Canadian company will appear in court on Monday charged with violating international sanctions by trying to export components to Iran that could have nuclear applications.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said they launched an investigation into manufacturing company Lee Specialties Ltd after customs officers at Calgary International Airport intercepted Viton O-rings in May 2011 that were in a cargo shipment bound for Iran.

Viton is a brand of synthetic rubber and fluoropolymer elastomer with high temperature and chemical resistance, while O-rings are mechanical gaskets.

They can be used both in oilfields and nuclear programs and are specifically listed as a prohibited item that cannot be shipped or sold to any person in Iran under Canada's Special Economic Measures Act.

Lee Specialties Ltd was not immediately available to comment on the charges.

The United States and other Western nations and the United Nations have imposed economic sanctions on Iran due to suspicions that the country is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The RCMP said it and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) executed three search warrants in relation to Lee Specialties, which is based in Red Deer, Alberta, in February 2013 before bringing charges.

"This seizure prevented these items, which can be used in nuclear applications, from landing in the wrong hands," Lauren D. Delgaty, regional director general of the CBSA Prairie Region, said in a statement.

It is the first time Special Economic Measures Act charges have been laid in Canada. The case will be heard in Calgary Provincial Court.

(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Galloway)

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