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Iranian-American Sentenced In Iran Smuggling Plot

MIAMI (Reuters) -- A U.S. judge has sentenced an aviation-company owner to 17 months in prison for conspiring to ship parts for fighter jets and other military aircraft to Iran in violation of the U.S. embargo, according to court papers.

Hassan Saied Keshari, an Iranian national and naturalized American, was charged last June with a series of violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, the Iran embargo and the International Emergency Powers Act. He pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz dismissed 10 other charges at a hearing on May 13 and sentenced him to 17 months in jail on the conspiracy count, with three years of probation after his release. He had faced up to 20 years in prison on the original charges.

U.S. authorities accused Keshari, the owner of Novato, California-based Kesh Air International, and Traian Bujduveanu, who owned Orion Aviation in Plantation, Florida, of helping the Iranian government build up its military.

The two men received e-mailed parts orders directly from Iran and then procured and illegally shipped the parts through Dubai to Iran, prosecutors said.

They shipped parts for the F-14 Tomcat fighter jet, the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter, and the CH-53 heavy-lift transport helicopter, prosecutors said.

U.S. authorities said numerous procurement networks use suppliers in the United States and around the world to obtain and ship American-made military products to Iran.

Bujduveanu, a Romanian national and naturalized American, pleaded guilty in April to a single conspiracy count. His sentencing is scheduled for June 11.