Men Guilty of Selling Iran Missile Technology

A Japanese court on Friday convicted two men of illegally exporting equipment that could be used to make missile fuel to Iran (search).

One man, the president of Tokyo's Seishin Enterprise Co. (search), was given a suspended prison sentence of 21/2 years. The other, Seishin's former South Korea branch manager, was given a suspended 11/2-year prison term. The court also ordered the company to pay a $134,000 fine.

The two were found guilty of violating foreign exchange and customs laws. The suspended sentences mean they won't go to prison unless they commit another crime during the terms of their sentences.

The court said the two men illegally exported two grinders, which can be used to produce solid fuel for rockets and missiles, to Iran in 1999 and 2000 without obtaining export permission from the government. They were arrested in June 2003.

Exporting the grinders is restricted under international guidelines established by the Missile Technology Control Regime (search), a pact signed by Japan, the United States and other countries to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.