Iranian-Born Man Gets Eight Years for Sharing U.S. Jet Secrets

  • Advanced-engine data used in effort to get job in home country
  • Information might have cut research cost $2 billion, U.S. said

An Iranian-born man who shared information on advanced U.S. fighter jet engines in an effort to get a job in his native country was sentenced in Connecticut to more than eight years in prison.

Mozaffar Khazaee, 61, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran who worked for three U.S. defense contractors, offered to provide technology that he had stolen from his employers to secure overseas work with state technical universities.

Prosecutors said Khazaee’s scheme began in 2009 when he sent documents containing information relating to the Joint Strike Fighter Program to an unidentified individual in Iran. It continued through 2013, when an investigation began after customs agents discovered manuals, sheets, drawings and data relating to U.S. military jet engines in a shipping container he tried to send to Iran, the government said.

The data would have given Iran a huge boost in engine research and development, cutting its investment in the technology by as much as $2 billion and possibly enhancing the effectiveness of its weapon systems, prosecutors said, citing analyses by the U.S. Air Force and defense contractors.

Khazaee was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey in January 2014 before boarding a flight to Iran. He pleaded guilty to violating federal arms-export control law in February and Friday was sentenced to 97 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford, Connecticut.

The case is U.S. v. Khazaee, 3:14-cr-00009, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut (Hartford).

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