WASHINGTON — A former Connecticut resident has been sentenced to 97 months in jail for attempting to send sensitive technical data on the F-35 engine to Iran.
Mozaffar Khazaee, 61, was sentenced on Oct. 23 to 97 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to a recent Pentagon Inspector General statement. Khazaee also was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.
Between 2009 and 2013, Khazaee tried to send secret U.S. defense technology to Iran, according to the release. Khazaee, a dual citizen of Iran and the United States, with a degree in mechanical engineering, was employed by three different defense contractors between 2001 and 2013.
Although the statement did not name his employers, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has confirmed that Khazaee was an employee of theirs during this period. Pratt manufactures the engines for both the F-22 and F-35.
"Mozaffar Khazaee betrayed his defense contractor employers and the national security interests of the United States by stealing and attempting to send to Iran voluminous documents containing highly sensitive U.S. defense technology," said Deirdre Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, according to the statement.
Beginning in 2009, Khazaee corresponded by email with an individual in Iran to whom he sent sensitive documents containing information about the Joint Strike Fighter program, according to the statement. Khazaee was apparently seeking a job back in Iran, frequently contacting state-controlled technical universities offering access to the data.
Federal agents began investigating Khazaee in 2013 when he attempted to send a large shipping container to Iran. When agents inspected the container, they found thousands of pages of documents, including diagrams, test results and blueprints of the F-35 and F-22 engines, according to the statement.
Khazaee was arrested on Jan 9, 2014, at the Newark Liberty International Airport before boarding a flight to Iran, the report said. Agents found additional information related to U.S. military jet engines, as well as $59,945 in as-yet undeclared cash, in Khazaee’s checked and carry-on luggage.
In addition to the F-35 and F-22 materials, Khazaee also stole documents from numerous other U.S. military engine programs, including the V-22 Osprey, the C-130J Hercules and the Global Hawk engines, according to the statement.
Khazaee pleaded guilty on Feb. 25, 2015.