Iranian sentenced for buying American technology outside US

A court in the US state of Delaware has sentenced an Iranian man to five years in prison for trying to buy components for Iranian fighter planes and missile guidance systems in violation of America's arms embargo.

Iranian citizen Amir Hussein Ardabili was arrested in the Georgian capital Tbilisi in 2007, lured there as part of a sting.

He was then secretly extradited to the United States where he is being held in solitary confinement.

He was then found guilty of preparing his native country Iran for the war with the US, after which he was transferred to another prison in the US, in Philadelphia, where he has been held for 19 months already. The case remained unknown to the public until the beginning of December, 2009, when American officials finally admitted they have the man being sentenced.

Lawyers say it sets a troubling precedent.

Amir Hussein Ardabili was supposedly helping the Iranian government to buy millions-of-dollars worth of military equipment. All this information comes from US officials, who say they have the evidence from the companies that produce equipment with double uses.

Ardabili was reportedly arrested in an American-operated hotel in Tbilisi.

The case leaves certain questions unanswered, such what is happening with the man right now and how anybody who is not an American citizen can be arrested outside of the US for breaking US laws.

Export control attorney Clif Burns believes that the case is questionable: “It’s certainly the U.S. claim that it has jurisdiction under International law – over anyone, who’s trying to export things from the U.S. – and that claim isn’t widely accepted by other members of the international community.”

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