home Europe, Export Controls, Iran, nuclear Spain Raids Factory for Alleged EU-Iran Nuclear Sanctions Violations

Spain Raids Factory for Alleged EU-Iran Nuclear Sanctions Violations

The government of Spain raided a leading heavy machinery and equipment manufacturer in the Basque region of country for alleged violations of EU and Spain export control laws.

Among other allegations, ONA Electro-erosion is accused of setting up a Turkish front company that was used to export to Iran at least seven Multi-Ton machines used in the manufacture of turbine blades for  nuclear power generation plants.

According to the press release issued by the Spanish government (available in Spanish), ONA had applied in 2009 for an export license to ship similar equipment to Iran but the application was denied.

ONA seems to have been determined to violate Spanish export control laws because after it was denied the export license in 2009 it appealed that decision. The appeal was also denied, after which ONA decided to set up a dummy Turkish front company to send the equipment to Iran.

It is not everyday that European export control enforcement actions make the news, much less nuclear export controls. It will be interesting to see the penalties that will be imposed in the case.

The company lists several U.S. companies as customers including GE Energy, NASA, Ford, and General Motors. And while ONA has an office in Chicago, Illinois, there does not appear to be any U.S. linkages to the incident. Yet.

At a minimum, the incident most likely will generate U.S. inter-agency inquiries to Spain and the EU.



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