Executives of a Tokyo-based engineering equipment manufacturer under arrest on suspicion of illegally exporting grinding machines to Iran were fully aware exporting the jet mills was illegal, investigative sources alleged Friday.
According to the sources, the five executives, including Haruhiko Ueda, 68, president of Seishin Enterprise Co., offered Iranian firms data showing the machines could be used in the manufacture of solid fuel for missiles. Police said earlier Ueda admitted exporting the mills to Iran but denied violating any laws.
The Metropolitan Police Department arrested Ueda and four managers of the firm for allegedly violating the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law by exporting the machines without permission.
The other suspects are Hitoshi Ito, 54, Akira Kamiya, 41, Toshitaka Matsuda, 42, and Eri Tanemura, 29.
The sources said police gained evidence that the company gave the data to Iranian firms during their search of the Tokyo company.
Seishin allegedly told the Iranians the machines have the ability to grind massive amounts of solid missile fuel into fine powder, which can increase the effective range of missiles, the sources said.
Police are also investigating a trading company run by an Iranian that they believe served as a conduit between Seishin and the companies in Iran, the sources said, adding the firms asked Seishin via the trading house for data on the machines.
Jet mills can grind materials into fine powder using compressed air and are mainly used by pharmaceutical companies, food makers and research organizations.
Due to their ability to grind solid fuel for missiles and rockets to enhance their range, they fall under the Missile Technology Control Regime, an international agreement regulating trade in equipment that can have military applications.
Exports of high-capacity jet mills and their components to Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea require permission from the minister of economy, trade and industry under the foreign trade control law.
Police alleged the five suspects exported, without permission, a jet mill in May 1999 to a company in Tehran and another in November 2000 to a university research organization there.
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