Motion to Dismiss in Federal Sanctions Case

Our firm has been representing people in serious federal cases for over 20 years, and we are one of only a few law firms with significant experience in international criminal matters. One of our cases with international implications came to the attention of the media when we filed a motion to dismiss the charges against our client, a well-respected scientist originally from Iran.

As detailed in our motion and the other pleadings, our client (Dr. Jazayeri) was stopped at the Atlanta Airport while she was traveling from the U.S. to Iran to visit family. She was allegedly taking a few vials of a growth hormone (a type of synthetic protein) to her former professor (Dr. Soleimani) for the purpose of continuing his research. Dr. Soleimani is a well-known scientist in the area of stem cell research.

When interviewed about the case, Attorney Page Pate said that Dr. Jazayeri “didn’t think she had done anything illegal” and was “completely confused by all this.” Dr. Jazayeri is naturalized United States Citizen who lives in Kentucky and has performed medical research at the University of Louisville.

Page discussed how in September 2016, “the landscape for sanctions against Iran was markedly different.” He says that “when the growth factors in this case were seized, the United States was moving forward with … the Iran nuclear deal.” “While the United States has since pulled out of this agreement, the agreement specifically obligated the United States to lift certain sanctions against Iran at the time. … In fact, Dr. Jazayeri expressed to agents that she was unsure of the current state of U.S. sanctions against Iran.” Page also points out that the FBI could “find no nefarious purpose” for Soleimani’s request for the hormone, and “this is not the intent of sanctions—to prevent a former student from delivering medicine to a former professor.”

Dr. Soleimani was indicted on June 12, 2018, a month after President Trump signed an order withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal. The indictment was kept under seal until Dr. Soleimani traveled from Iran to Minnesota to work at the Mayo Clinic. He was arrested when he got to the U.S. and has been held in Atlanta without bond since then.

Court records show that Dr. Mahboobe Ghaedi, another scientist charged in this case, is a permanent US resident. She is an Assistant Professor at Yale University and her research on lung regeneration has led to a functioning transplantable lung. She was arrested and released on a $250,000 bond.

We have filed a Motion to Dismiss the charges on behalf of our client and are confident that the government’s evidence in this case does not support the charges.