Iranian Gets Fine, Jail for Arms Sales to Tehran
A young businessman from Iran accused of secretly selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sophisticated military equipment to the government of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was fined $50,000 Friday by a Los Angeles federal judge, who also imposed a three-month jail term.
In levying the fine and brief jail time on Amir Masopud Motamedi, U.S. District Judge Wallace Tashima described him as “obviously a young man with torn loyalties” and said that there were several mitigating factors in Motamedi’s favor.
But Tashima said some time in custody and a heavy fine were warranted for their deterrent effect, noting that “there has been a recent rash of these kind of cases” involving sales of military equipment to hostile countries.
The judge added an additional $20,000 in fines to be paid by Boustan Corp., a firm the 27-year-old Motamedi operated in West Los Angeles to export the prohibited items.
Motamedi had pleaded guilty on April 26 to two counts of personally violating the U.S. Munitions Export Control Act and to two additional counts filed against Boustan Corp.
The American government embargoed the sale of military hardware to Iran in 1979 after the fall of the shah. The Iranian military, which still relies heavily on arms provided by the United States during the shah’s reign, has been desperately seeking U.S.-made spare parts and munitions to pursue its war with neighboring Iraq.
Among the items Motamedi obtained for Iran, according to the indictment returned against him by a Los Angeles federal grand jury last November, were bomb racks, radar-jamming equipment and tactical navigation equipment for use on aircraft ranging from F-4 supersonic fighters to the giant KC-135 mid-air refueling tanker.
Alan Jay Weil, Motamedi’s attorney, asked for a straight probationary sentence, saying that his client was caught in a struggle to restore his family to their previous wealth and social standing, lost when they were forced to flee Iran after the downfall of the shah.
But Assistant U.S. Atty. William Fahey, the prosecutor, told Tashima that Motamedi became involved in exporting the military equipment “for three reasons: first, to make money; second, to assist Iran in its war against Iraq, and third, to enhance his own position should he later choose to return there.”