TORONTO — A historic case is unfolding in a Toronto courtroom where a man faces charges under the United Nations Act for allegedly trying to send devices to Iran that could be used to build nuclear weapons.
Mahmoud Yadegari is also charged under the Criminal Code, Customs Act, the Export and Import Permits Act, as well as provisions in Canada’s Nuclear Safety and Control Act.
The case has received international attention and even the notice of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In February, Ahmadinejad proposed that Yadegari be included in a swap of Iranians in U.S. prisons for three American hikers being held in Tehran.
The 36-year-old Iranian-born businessman is accused of using his small company operated out of his home to try to export to Iran via Dubai two of 10 pressure transducers he purchased from a U.S. company.
The instruments, which convert pressure measurements into electrical signals for computers and other electronic devices, have benign applications but can be used in the enrichment of uranium for nuclear weapons.
The trial is now focusing on whether a judge will allow into evidence some admissions Yadegari made to police while in a holding cell.
“Mr. Yadegari is going to testify that he was threatened and this is not a voluntary statement,” his lawyer, Frank Addario, told Justice Cathy Mocha on Wednesday in the judge-alone trial.
Yadegari at his Toronto home in April 2009.