The Department of Justice and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)  announced yesterday that a Dutch aviation services company – Aviation Services International, B.V. (“ASI”) – its director and sales manager pled guilty to federal charges related to a conspiracy to illegally export aircraft components and other items from the United States to entities in Iran via the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus. For my friends and colleagues outside of Washington, DC, these people were buying controlled U.S. technology for the Iranian regime and were hoping that they would not get caught.

The Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has updated its “Overview of Sanctions” for the Cuba program.  The update includes the new travel regulations that will allow, among other things, travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens for marketing activities in the telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries.  The document also has a new, updated layout – gone is the black and white, in comes baby blue (or is it teal)?  As far as content, it is a little more user-friendly for folks that may not be used to working with the regulations.

Clif Burns at the Export Law Blog pens that while he does not “believe that, as a matter of policy, downloads of web browsers with encryption features ought to be subject to export controls, the reasoning of the Advisory Opinion is, to say the least, a bit odd.”  He is referencing a recent BIS Advisory Opinion on encryption software.  Odd indeed.

The United Nations Security Council adopted UNSCR 1887 yesterday, a resolution on nuclear security that included some export controls language.  It called for, in part, that member States adopt stricter national controls for the export of sensitive goods and technologies of the nuclear fuel cycle, as well as other language aimed at securing compliance with IAEA nuclear safeguards.   It urges all States to take all appropriate national measures in accordance with their national authorities and legislation, and consistent with international law, to prevent proliferation financing and shipments, to strengthen export controls, to secure sensitive materials, and to control access to intangible transfers of technology.   In a related matter, be sure to read Stephen Rademaker’s op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

State sponsor of terror Iran confirmed earlier today that they are building a second nuclear reactor.  In that case, expect that a third is already on the books or in the works.   If a country is on the state sponsors of terrorism list, it should automatically disqualify it from pursuing any form of nuclear program.  And, if it already has a nuclear program and it finds its way onto the state sponsors list, time for some robust economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, also at the UN, while the Security Council adopts a nuclear non-proliferation resolution, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez was a few doors down at the General Assembly railing against the United States and not denying that he wants a robust nuclear program.  What the Soviet Union was to Cuba during the Cold War and the Juragua nuclear power plant program, so will the Russians and Iran be for Venezuela today.  And as we did to Cuba, we should do to Venezuela.  The difference is that Venezuela has not started to build a nuclear reactor, so we have some time to stop Chavez before he breaks ground.  Cuba also did not have any money, Chavez has plenty of it.

Timothy Garton Ash of the UK Guardian takes Siemens and Nokia to task for the sale of advanced computer software and monitoring equipment to the Iranian regime to operate Irantelecom.  He pens that “a German company, Siemens, which used slave labour during the Third Reich, sold a Holocaust-denying president the instruments with which he can persecute young Iranians risking their lives for freedom. Think of that every time you buy something made by Siemens.”  This issue first surfaced a few months ago, during the height of street protests in Iran.  One wonders if with all the talk in DC about “reform” to U.S. export control laws if transactions such as these will be blocked in the future.

And, for you space travel junkies out there (and I know I am not the only one),  ABC News reports that Russia wants NASA to keep the space shuttle program active after 2011.   Space shuttle program or not, the USG will keep adding items to the USML and the CCL well into the 22nd century …

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