Sacramento, California - A three-count indictment by a federal grand jury was unsealed Thursday charging Dariush Niknia, 56, of Elk Grove, and Richard Lant, 74, of Las Vegas, Nevada, with a conspiracy to violate the United States’ embargo on Iran and engaging in prohibited trade-related transactions with Iran, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to the indictment, between May and October 2015, Niknia and Lant conspired to unlawfully sell and supply 500 Russian-made tank helmets to Niknia’s contact in Tehran, Iran. The indictment alleges that in May 2015, Niknia contacted Lant, who operated R&L Ltd., a company that sold Russian items, and requested to purchase 500 tank helmets and to have the helmets shipped to Tehran. Niknia initially paid R&L monies to purchase two sample tank helmets and to have the helmets sent from Russia to Iran. Once Ninkia’s customer approved the second sample tank helmet, Niknia paid Lant additional money in an attempt to purchase an additional 50 tank helmets for shipment to Iran.

The embargo on Iran, which is enforced through the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, prohibits the export, sale, and supply of goods to Iran by United States persons with very limited exceptions. It also prohibits, with very limited exceptions, United States persons from engaging in any transaction or dealing related to the sale or supply of goods to Iran.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelley D. Weger is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Niknia and Lant face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.