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US Arrests Iranian Scientist and Sharif University Professor

Mojtaba Atarodi
According to a report by AP, the United States has arrested and charged Iranian semiconductor scientist Mojtaba Atarodi with violating U.S. export laws by buying high-tech U.S. lab equipment. The 54-year-old scientist was detained on December 7 after stepping off a plane in Los Angeles and is being held in a federal prison in Dublin, California.

Atarodi is an associate professor in the electrical engineering department at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, and according to the university's website, he has authored dozens of scientific papers.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Atarodi's family said after a court hearing yesterday that he was scheduled for release on bail subject to electronic monitoring, partly for health reasons. The hearing couldn't be independently confirmed in court records.

Bloomberg further reported that the Sharif University spokesman has said Atarodi was engaged only in civilian research. "The fact of the matter is that he was just a professor, and he was trying to buy some equipment for his lab, and the equipment was very, very simple, ridiculously simple stuff that anybody can buy," the spokesman said.

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