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December 02, 2009 

Iranian Arms Procurement Agent Pleads Guilty and Will be Sentenced

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware announced today that an Iranian arms procurement agent who was extradited to the United States in 2008 has pled guilty to negotiating the purchase and illegal export of a number of military components to Iran and will be sentenced on December 14, 2009.

According to the indictments, Amir Hossein Ardebili was charged with 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 regarding Ardebili’s role as an arms acquisitions agent for the government of Iran. Some of the items that Ardebeli allegedly attempted to procure included:

  • QRS-11 Gyro Chip Sensors which are solid-state gyro chips that are used in aircraft, missile, space and commercial applications. The BEI GyroChip Model QRS11 Quartz Rate Sensor, Model 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. [Note: certain types of QRS-11 chips are subject to the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department.]
  • 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. 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.
Ardebili’s negotiations with undercover agents culminated in a face-to-face meeting in a Central Asian nation in October of 2007, after which Ardebili was arrested and extradited to the United States.

Documents from this case can be found at the following links:

Update: Thursday's Washington Post contains an interesting story on this case entitled "Cat-and-Mouse Game Traps Arms Broker" with additional details on the scope of the undercover operation that led to Ardebeli's arrest in Tbilisi, Georgia.

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