Man Exported Materials from Orange Co. to Iran For Deadly Weapons
An Iranian businessman has been sent to prison for purchasing weapons materials from the Hudson Valley and sending it to Iran.
It sounds incredible, but according to a report by Westfair Communications, U.S. District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti laid down the sentence in November against Behzad Pourghannad. The Iranian businessman will spend 20 months in prison for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Attorneys say that Pourghannad schemed to purchase carbon fiber from an unnamed Orange County business and export it to Iran for use in the construction of weapons of mass destruction. The carbon fiber can be used to make military aircraft and missiles, but is also commonly used in the process of enriching uranium for weaponry.
The name of the company in Orange County was not disclosed, but this case is eerily similar to another one from 2012 that involved a Middletown man. Peter Gromacki, ran a business called Performance Engineered Nonwovens out of his house. In this case, the materials were being exported to China for military use. After pleading guilty, Gromacki was sent to prison for three months and was released under supervision for three years.
Pourghannad worked with other Iranians to export the carbon fibers to European countries where the shipments would be sent to Iran. During a trip to Germany the businessman was arrested by Interpol and imprisoned for two and a half years. After being extradited to the United States, Pourghannad plead guilty to the charges.
Prosecutors hoped to get a sentence of between 46 and 57 months, but Pourghannad's lawyers argued that this was his first offense. They also insisted that the Iranian businessman had suffered enough, claiming that he had spent most of his German prison time in solitary confinement.
Eventually the judge ruled that Pourghannad will serve 20 months in prison, starting back in July when he was originally taken into US custody.
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