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U.S. charges Iranian nationals for hacking, reselling weapon software

Two Iranian nationals have been charged for allegedly stealing and reselling computer programs in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

The federal indictment accuses 39-year-old Mohammed Reza Rezakhah and 35-year-old Mohammed Saeed Ajily of hacking into software companies, stealing and re-branding materials, then selling it to the Iranian government, military and educational institutions. Arrest warrants were issued for the men and they are currently being sought.

The scheme began around 2007, in which Rezakhah hacked and stole the software from American companies, while Ajily marketed and sold them, according to the indictment.

Ajily specifically noted the sales were in violation of U.S. export controls and sanctions, the indictment says.

In 2012, Rezakhah allegedly hacked Vermont-based engineering consulting company Arrow Tech Associates which is known for software that supports design for bullets, GPS-guided artillery shells and aerodynamic analysis.

The software is considered to be a “defense article” of the U.S., meaning it cannot be exported from the U.S. without a license from the U.S. Department of State.

A third accomplice of the operation, Nima Golestaneh, has already pleaded guilty to related charges. In 2013, the 30-year-old was arrested in Turkey and extradited to the U.S. last year.

Golestaneh was one of the seven Iranian nationals the U.S pardoned or dropped charges against in a prisoner swap that released of four Americans held by Iran.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Source: CBS News – United States

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