A multi-agency task force today announced an arrest and indictment of a suspected arms trafficker who sought to ship helicopter engines and advanced aerial cameras to Iran. The mastermind of the sale allegedly intended to use companies in Malaysia, Ireland and the Netherlands to funnel the arms to Iranian entities, including the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company. That company was designated on September 17, 2008 by the Treasury Department with other Iranian firms for activities in support of WMD proliferation and for providing support to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iranian citizen Hossein Ali Khoshnevisrad was arrested on Saturday when he arrived at San Francisco International Airport. According to an affidavit filed in the case, in 2007 Khoshnevisrad and his company, Ariasa, purchased 17 turbo-shaft helicopter engines from Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indiana. The helicopter engines were then exported from the U.S. to a “book publisher” in Malaysia, and later shipped to Iran. Additionally, in 2006 Khoshnevisrad instructed a Dutch aviation parts company to order several aerial panorama cameras designed for use on bombers, fighters and surveillance aircraft, from a Pennsylvania company and then ship them to Iran.
The case shows that the Iranian regime continues to acquire advanced Western technology, by any means necessary, for military use. You can download the criminal complaint and associated affidavit here.