Iranian-American jailed for 25 years for attempting to buy missiles for Iran

Iranian-American jailed for 25 years for attempting to buy missiles for Iran
Lawyers for Reza Olangian say he will appeal his conviction after claiming that his attempted arms purchase was part of a sting operation to expose Iran.
2 min read
15 March, 2018
Reza Olangian attempted to by surface-to-air missiles on behalf of Tehran [AFP]

A court in Manhattan has asentenced an Iranian-American dual citizen to 25 years in prison after he was found guilty of violating US sanctions against Iran

Reza Olangian, 57, was accused of attempting to purchase surface-to-air missiles and aircraft components on behalf of the Islamic Republic.

Prosecutors attempted to secure a longer sentence for Olangian, however District Judge Loretta Preska said she did not see the need for more than the minimum sentence for required for his conviction. 

"I think Judge Preska saw that 25 years is an extraordinarily long time and that Mr. Olangian did not rise to the level of something as egregious as that," Gregory Morvillo, Olangian's lawyer, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Prosecutors said that Olangian, who moved to the US in 1979 as a student, had arranged to buy the missiles from a Drug Enforcement Administration informant posing as a Russian arms dealer. They said the deal involved 10 missiles, but that Olangian ultimately wanted to acquire at least 200.

Following his extradition to the US, he was convicted in November 2016 of several crimes, including conspiring to acquire and transfer anti-aircraft missiles.

Olangian's lawyers say he will appeal his conviction, having claimed during the trial that he was in fact an opponent of Iran's government.

His defence said that his attempt to buy the weapons was in fact a sting operation intended at exposing Tehran's disregard for the US sanctions.