United States Home Bound

Househeld in the United States

and Marie Christine Trottier MISE À DAY

Accused in the United States of having illegally exported to Iran, in 2016, machines that could be used to manufacture nuclear weapons, Montreal businessman Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani maintains his innocence. 

“There is no evidence…there are no documents [that prove] that I made a deal with Iran,” says Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani in an interview with Le Journal.  

According to him, he did nothing wrong because he only resold material which did not suit his needs. 

“This particular material is very common for lab testing,” he explains. Mass spectrometers purchased in the United States in the fall of 2016 are being used to test mineral concentrations in water and food, he says. for sending controlled equipment to Iran, without the necessary permits, since it can also be used to determine the level of uranium enrichment. 

“I will sue the government later, I did nothing wrong. All that, these statements, is nonsense,” says Mr. Kafrani. 

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Kafrani and an accomplice bought and received this equipment before sending them to the United Arab Emirates and before other accomplices transport them to Iran.  

Recall that Mr. Kafrani has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting of his trial. He says he has not had contact with his alleged accomplice, Seyed Reza Mirnezami, for five years. 


When asked about the very close dates between receiving the equipment and sending it to the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Kafrani explains that “after assembling them, [the equipment] was not correct. I sold them to a company in the Emirates”. 

The special agent who interviewed him during his arrest asked him why he hadn't simply returned them to the United States when he realized that it was not suitable. “Used equipment is not refundable,” Mr. Kafrani replied at the time. He paid approximately US$110,000 for this equipment.  

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Mr. Kafrani disputed the figures presented by the trustee MNP in the context of the bankruptcy of his company Avi-Life Lab. Trustee documents show she has approximately $4.3 million in debt.  

Radio silence from the authorities 

The Sûreté du Québec, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not wanted to say, in recent days, whether an investigation has been opened concerning Mr. Kafrani.  

At Global Affairs Canada, an official pointed out that the department was aware of information circulating regarding the arrest of Mr. Kafrani. 

“Consular officers are ready to provide consular assistance and are gathering additional information. For reasons of confidentiality, no other information can be divulged,” spokesperson Jason Kung said. ; 

Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani in brief

  • Born in Iran
  • In 2014, he arrived in Montreal 
  • In 2016, he founded his company Avi-Life Lab 
  • In 2016, he bought the laboratory equipment targeted by the lawsuit.
  • At the beginning of July 2021, he was arrested at the American border

He should be able to continue his studies at McGill 

Assigned to house arrest in the United States, Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani will be able to continue his doctorate at McGill University pending his trial.

Thursday, Mr. Kafrani's lawyer asked the court to authorize certain changes in the conditions of his client's detention.

Among these, the accused wanted to be able to use a laptop computer to access his McGill email inbox as well as sites related to the university.  

It's under supervision of his thesis supervisor, Hosahalli S. Ramaswamy, professor in the Department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry at McGill University, that he will likely be able to continue his studies.  

The court accepted these different requests. 


M. Kafrani explained, in an interview on Wednesday with Le Journal, that if he had not been arrested, he would normally have defended his thesis in September. 

In August, Professor Ramaswamy had written a letter to the American justice confirming that Reza Sarhangpour Kafrani had indeed been his doctoral student since 2017. 

< p>According to the letter, Mr. Kafrani has an interest in food allergies, particularly “the detection and quantification of allergens using sophisticated analytical equipment”. 


In recent days, McGill has chosen the path of silence regarding the case of Mr. Kafrani, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally exporting equipment to Iran .

The University would not say if an internal investigation had been opened or if he was still a student.  

« L 'University is not legally authorized to share information of a personal nature,' McGill spokeswoman Cynthia Lee replied in an email to Journal

According to documents filed in court, the man who has lived in Montreal with his family since 2014 had earned nine out of the 90 credits needed to complete his doctorate last summer.

He also mi s set up, in recent years, two companies, including Avi-Life Lab, which is currently bankrupt. 

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