Man Sentenced in Chicago’s Federal Court: Attempted Sale of Missile Parts to Iran
By Ellen Cannon
Discussing the case of David Baniameri, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitgeraldof Illinois said, “This defendant chose to be in the business of illegally exporting items to a state sponsor of terrorism. In doing so, he endangered the national security of the United States.” Baniameri, an Iranian citizen and legal U.S. resident, was sentenced in Chicago to more than four years in prison on August 15, 2011.
According to the Department of Justice, Mr. Baniameri, an Iranian who lived in Woodland Hills, California, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Illinois to charges of conspiring to illegally export goods and technology to Iran as well as attempted to illegally export defense articles, stemming from his efforts to illegally export TOW missile components and radio sets to Iran.
According to the AP, the parts were “from an Illinois company that was controlled by law enforcement,” and he planned to ship the parts to Iran through a third country.
Baniameri was arrested on a criminal complaint on September 9, 2009 and was later indicted in December 2009, along with Andro Telemi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran and a resident of La Tuna Canyon, California. To facilitate the export of the goods, Baniameri conducted business as Pacific Green Valley, a firm in California and Telemi conducted business as Oceanic Import Cars, Inc., a firm in California. A third party, Syed Majid Mousavi, an Iranian citizen living in Iran was also indicted for his involvement in July 2010.
According to the Justice Department, court documents indicate that “sometime prior to October 2008, Mr. Mousavi based in Iran, contacted Baniameri in California and requested that he purchase Marconi radio test sets for illegal export from the United States via Dubai. Baniameri purchased these sets from an Illinois company and later exported them to Iran via Dubai. Mousavi also requested that Baniameri purchase and export to Iran, via Dubai, ten connector adaptors for the TOW and TOW2 missile system, which are used on the U.S. Army’s Bradley fighting vehicle and on the U.S. Marine Corp’s Ah-1W Cobra attack helicopter. Baniameri later negotiated the purchase of these items from an Illinois company for $9,450 and directed Telemi to take possession of the items. Baniameri was arrested before he was able to leave the United States.” (www.justice.gov, “Summary of Major U.S. Export Enforcement and Embargo Prosecutions, 6/2011)
Baniameri pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to export goods and technology without a license or approval and one count of attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List without a license or approval. Mr. Telemi is awaiting trial. Mr. Mousavi, according to the Associated Press, is a fugitive believed to be in Iran.