The CEO of a New York-based metallurgical company has pleaded guilty to illegally exporting to Iran a metallic powder that can be used to build missiles.

Erdal Kuyumcu pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday to one count of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The 44-year-old Kuyumcu is the CEO of Global Metallurgy LLC.

Prosecutors say he conspired to export a powder composed of cobalt and nickel without obtaining the required license.

The powder can be used to coat gas turbine components and can also be used in aerospace, missile production and nuclear applications. Such specialized metals are closely regulated by the U.S. government to combat nuclear proliferation and protect national security.

Kuyumcu faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.