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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
12/14/2009

Iranian arms procurement agent sentenced to 60 months in prison

WILMINGTON, Del. - Iranian arms procurement agent Amir Hossein Ardebili was sentenced to a term of incarceration of 60 months on Dec. 14 as a result of an investigation led by U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

On May 19, 2008, Ardebili pleaded guilty to multiple violations of the Arms Export Control Act, International Emergency Economic Powers Act, smuggling, conspiracy, and money laundering. The charges resulted from a three year international undercover investigation which exposed Ardebili's role as a prolific arms acquisitions agent for the government of Iran.

"ICE will continue to pursue those who are willing to put America's national security at risk" said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Philadelphia. "The export of this technology to Iran is controlled so that it cannot be used to harm America or its allies. Enforcing export laws are one of ICE's top priorities and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that those who send prohibited items to Iran are brought to justice."

"This case revealed the extent of the Iranian government's activities in acquiring American military technology. I applaud the tireless efforts of our law enforcement partners who patiently pursued their leads and built a compelling case. Today's sentence sends a message to others who would profit by illegal arms sales," said United States Attorney David C. Weiss.

In commenting on the serious nature of the offense, Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet noted that defendant's crimes "could pose a direct threat to the security of the United States."

During the investigation, Ardebili acquired a number of articles of war for export, including:

  • QRS-11 Gyro Chip Sensors. The QRS-11s are solid-state gyro chips that can be used in thousands of applications to include numerous advanced aircraft, missile, space and commercial applications. The BEI GyroChip Model QRS11 Quartz Rate Sensor, Modeln No. QRS-11-00300-100, is listed on the United States Munitions List in Category XII(d), and therefore requires a license from the Department of State for export.
  • MAPCGM0003 Phase Shifters. Phase shifters perform a key function in the active radiating elements of electronically steered antennae. They enable an antenna to point a radiated beam in specific directions. The six bit phase shifter sought by Ardebili is state of the art. Phase shifters have many applications including phased array radar, which is used in military target acquisition and missile guidance.
  • Digital Air Data Computer (DADC-107). The DADC-107 is a fully computerized Form/Fit/Function (FFF) replacement for the Central Air Data Computer installed on F-4 fighter aircraft. It calculates flight parameters including altitude, air speed, static pressure, mach number, and true angle of attack. Its high accuracy enhances weapons delivery system performance. The DADC-107 is a United States Munitions List Article under category VIII (h) and therefore requires a United States State Department license for export.

"The sentencing today of Amir Ardebeli will send a message to those elements not friendly to the United States that the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its law enforcement partners are committed to ensuring that DoD weapon systems and technologies are secure and do not get into the hands of people suspected of providing support to our adversaries," said James B. Burch, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations, Department of Defense Office of Inspector General. "We recognize this threat to the tactical and strategic advantages that our soldiers now hold and will continue to combat it with all the tools available to us."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Hall.