Swedish man found guilty of breaking Iran embargo

A Swedish man who tried to export equipment to Iran that could be used for uranium enrichment was on Wednesday found guilty of breaking international sanctions against Tehran.

A district court in the southern town of Lund handed Shahab Ghasri a three-month suspended jail sentence saying it was "very likely" that he was aware of the embargo, but also noting that he was unlikely to reoffend.

The 31-year-old Swede of Iranian origin was accused last year of trying to sell 11 advanced valves to Iran and attempting to circumvent international sanctions against the country by first sending the equipment to Dubai.

The shipment was discovered by Swedish custom officials.

Experts have said the non-corrosive valves could be used in the oil and gas industry, but that they were of unnecessarily high quality to be used for anything but uranium enrichment.

A search of Ghasri's home found an email where he wrote that a special permit may be needed "if the products were to be used in a power station".

"Shahab Ghasri has frequently done business with Iranian customers, and it cannot have been unknown to him that there were restrictions on trade with Iran," the court said.

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful but many in the international community suspect its real aim is to develop nuclear weapons.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on the country which have been augmented this year by painful Western restrictions on its vital oil exports, leading to serious economic problems.

Tehran is also locked in a showdown with the UN's atomic watchdog agency, which hopes to gain broader access to Iranian nuclear facilities.