Iranian National Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Illegally Export Products From the U.S. to Iran
Mansour Moghtaderi Zadeh, 56, an Iranian national, pleaded guilty today to taking part in a conspiracy involving the purchase and shipment of various products, including aviation parts and supplies, from the U.S. to Iran without a license.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia, Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. Etre of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston and Special Agent in Charge Michael Imbrogna of the Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce in Boston made the announcement. The plea took place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Zadeh, who had been living in Iran, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully export goods, technology and services to Iran without the required license and to defraud the U.S. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Zadeh faces a likely range of 46 to 57 months in prison and a potential fine of $20,000 to $200,000. Senior Judge Paul L. Friedman scheduled sentencing for December 14. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In plea documents filed today, Zadeh acknowledged that beginning in October 2005, Iranian companies requested that Zadeh through his company, Barsan Aero Chemicals, Ltd., procure products, including a fiber optic video transmitter and receiver, and aviation course indicators, which required a license from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), to be exported to Iran. Members of the conspiracy arranged for the items to be sent from the U.S. to Iran, and Zadeh received a commission.
In March 2007, Zadeh and co-conspirators attempted to export metal sheets and rods that are used in the aviation manufacturing industry from the U.S. to Iran, without the required license from OFAC. Zadeh had arranged for his new corporation, Lavantia Ltd., to purchase the items, and used an alias in his communications. In September 2007, the shipment was detained by the U.S. Department of Commerce pending certification of the end user.
In October 2007, the Department of Commerce issued a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) against Lavantia and Zadeh (under his alias). The TDO prohibited Lavantia and Zadeh from participating, directly or indirectly, in any way in any transaction involving any commodity exported from the U.S. Notwithstanding the TDO, Zadeh and other conspirators exported and attempted to export numerous materials from the U.S., including resin, sealant, paint, pneumatic grease, film adhesive and polyurethane coating and thinner. Their conduct after the TDO was issued involved more than $69,000 of exported goods.
“The prosecution of this case demonstrates that the United States will aggressively investigate and prosecute those who unlawfully export goods and technology for use in Iran,” said U.S. Attorney Phillips. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will use every tool at our disposal to enforce export laws.”
“Disrupting and dismantling the sale of controlled items, especially those with military value, to foreign powers is a critical federal law enforcement mission, and is one in which HSI has a long history of excellence,” said Special Agent in Charge Etre. “HSI will continue to track down those who attempt to profit by the illegal sale and export of our military technologies.”
In announcing the plea, Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Special Agent in Charge Etre and Special Agent in Charge Imbrogna commended the work of the Special Agents who investigated the case. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Jorge Casillas, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frederick W. Yette and Jeffrey Pearlman of the District of Columbia, who prosecuted the case. Finally, they expressed appreciation for the work of Trial Attorney Thea D. R. Kendler of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.