Iranian pleads guilty in Chicago to missile parts export plot

CHICAGO Tue May 31, 2011 7:11pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Iranian national pleaded guilty in Chicago on Tuesday to federal charges of trying to illegally export missile parts and radio test sets from the United States to Iran.

Under the terms of his plea deal, Davoud Baniameri, 38, who lived in Los Angeles, faces up to four years in prison for violating the Arms Export Control Act and the U.S. embargo against Iran by conspiring to arrange such shipments.

Baniameri initially arranged for three radio test sets to be shipped to Iran through the Persian Gulf state of Dubai at the behest of an Iranian citizen in Iran, Syed Majid Mousavi, who first contacted him in October 2008, according to court records in the case.

Responding to a subsequent Mousavi request the following August, Baniameri sought to buy 10 connector adapters for anti-tank guided-missile systems that he would export to Iran through Dubai, the court documents said.

Baniameri admitted to making a payment for the missile parts to an undercover law enforcement agent posing as an Illinois weapons dealer. He also admitted to arranging to fly to Dubai and then on to Iran as part of the deal, the plea agreement said.

He was arrested on September 9, 2009, before leaving the United States. His sentencing is set for August 4.

Mousavi remains a fugitive. Andro Telemi, 40, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran who also lives in the Los Angeles area and allegedly assisted Baniameri in the missile parts scheme, is awaiting trial. An attorney for Telemi was not immediately available for comment.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Steve Gorman)

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