Californian sentenced in Iran missile parts case

A 38-year-old man who admitted he tried to illegally export parts of missiles to Iran from the United States has been sentenced to more than four years in prison, officials announced Monday.

Davoud Baniameri, an Iranian citizen and legal U.S. resident who lived in Woodland Hills, Calif., was sentenced to 51 months. He pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced Friday in Chicago's federal court.

Prosecutors allege Baniameri, who was arrested in 2009, attempted to buy parts from an Illinois company that was controlled by law enforcement, and that he planned to ship the parts to Iran through the United Arab Emirates. The parts included connector adapters for missile systems.

"This defendant chose to be in the business of illegally exporting items to a state sponsor of terrorism. In doing so, he endangered the national security of the United States," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in a statement Monday.

In a plea agreement, Baniameri pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to export goods and technology without a license or approval and one count of attempting to export defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List without a license or approval.

"We're disappointed," Baniameri's attorney, Thomas Brandstrader, said Monday.

His client, in custody in Chicago, was hoping for a lighter sentence. He said Baniameri's wife and two children, who live in the Los Angeles area, are devastated.

Two other men have been charged in connection with the plan. One is awaiting trial and another is a fugitive believed to be in Iran.