04/14/2014 01:15 EDT | Updated 06/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Exports to Iran with possible nuclear uses net Alberta firm charges

A Red Deer, Alta., company has been charged with violating international sanctions against Iran by exporting a product that can be used in nuclear applications, officials announced today.

After a joint investigation launched almost three years ago by the RCMP organized crime section and the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA), Lee Specialties Ltd. has been charged under the Special Economic Measures Act, the Customs Act and the United Nations Act for unlawfully shipping Viton o-rings to Iran.

Viton is a brand of synthetic rubber that can withstand high temperatures and corrosive chemicals, making it useful in both oilfield and nuclear applications.

Viton o-rings and gaskets are specifically mentioned in the Special Economic Measures Act as prohibited items that cannot be shipped to any person or company in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the RCMP said in a release.

The investigation began in May 2011 after CBSA officers at the Calgary International Airport found Viton o-rings in a cargo shipment headed for the pariah country.

CBSA and RCMP executed three search warrants on Lee Specialties Ltd. in February 2013.

“CBSA officers are not only the first line of defence for goods coming into Canada, but they are also the final eye to ensure goods leaving the country are being lawfully exported,” said Lauren Delgaty, CBSA regional director general.

“This seizure prevented these items, which can be used in nuclear applications, from landing in the wrong hands.”  

This is the first time Canadian charges have been laid under the Special Economic Measures Act and the third time under the United Nations Act.

Lee Specialties Ltd. was set to appear in Calgary provincial court on Monday.