A dual Canadian-Iranian citizen has been sentenced by a federal court judge in White Plains to 32 months in prison for conspiring to export military weapons to Iran.
In 2014, Ali Soofi emailed someone in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York inquiring about 30mm machine gun dampeners, a type of shock absorber that allows the weapon to be mounted on helicopters and boats.
“We need only damper for mentioned application which is difficult to supply to Iran,” Soofi wrote, according to an indictment filed and sealed a year ago.
Soofi was working as a weapons broker on behalf of Iranian clients, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release, including a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who was responsible for procuring weapons. The IRGC has been designated as a terrorist organization for its support of the Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas.
From 2014 to 2016, Soofi tried to acquire military helicopters, jet engines, Humvees, target sights and parts for tanks. He conspired to export the items directly from the United States to Iran or by transshipment through intermediary countries, without a license.
In June 2014, for instance, he asked for a sample dampener for testing, in a telephone conversation with the local individual, who is not identified in court papers, and with an unidentified co-conspirator.
More than two years after the initial contact in November 2016, Soofi followed up with the local individual. He confirmed that the co-conspirator had “lots of money to purchase dampeners and was still interested in the transaction,” the indictment states.
Soofi met with the local individual at an undisclosed location in the U.S. and discussed the acquisition of military vehicles.
Soofi, 63, agreed to a plea deal in June and pleaded guilty in September before federal Judge Nelson S. Roman, to conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Roman sentenced him on Dec. 15 to prison and to one year of supervised release.
Soofi also agreed to a possible fine of $20,000 to $1 million, according to a June letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey to Soofi’s attorney, David B. Deitch, of Reston, Virginia.
The letter also states it is very likely that Soofi will be deported.
The indictment, plea bargain letter and news release do not say whether any weapons were actually exported. The criminal docket, which would show more details about the case, remains sealed.