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U.S. deports Iranian scientist acquitted of stealing trade secrets

Professor at Iran’s Sharif University of Technology was accused of stealing secrets related to production of anti-corrosive stainless steel from a Case Western University research project for the Navy.

Published: June 2, 2020 9:57am

Updated: June 2, 2020 12:14pm

An Iranian scientist recently acquitted on charges of trying to steal secret U.S. government-related research has reportedly been deported to Iran.

Sirous Asgari, a professor at Iran’s Sharif University of Technology, was indicted in April 2016 on federal charges of stealing research from Case Western Reserve University, which had been working on a project for the U.S. Navy Office of Naval Research, according to the Associated Press.

Asgari’s deportation was confirmed Tuesday by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency. 

Asgari was acquitted in November 2019 after a federal judge dismissed the case. The research was reportedly related to the production of anti-corrosive stainless steel.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy Homeland Security secretary, has said the agency has been trying to deport Asgari since his acquittal but that Iran had refused to recognize Asgari as a citizen and issue him a passport.

Cuccinelli also said that DHS made several attempts to return Asgari before this week but at least six flights were cancelled because of the coronavirus. Asgari reportedly contracted the virus while imprisoned in Louisiana but has now recovered.

Cuccinelli and Iran have dismissed speculation that Asgari was returned in exchange for U.S. prisoners being released from Iranian prisons.

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