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New Yorker jailed for aiding Iran.

A New Yorker has been sentenced to 92 months in prison for shipping to Iran industrial material used in centrifuges in violation of the US trade embargo.

Richard Phillips, 54, offered to help send carbon fiber, a material used in military and nuclear technology including centrifuges, at the request of a Homeland Security agent posing as a buyer, the US government said in court filings.

Phillips, a resident of the Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty in January. He was sentenced last Thursday. "I didn't mean to hurt anyone, I was in a desperate situation, I needed money," Phillips told the judge court at his sentencing.

Florian Miedel, Phillips' lawyer, asked for leniency and said it was unfair to treat the actions by the former contractor the same way as a person who was trying to send weapons or attack helicopters.

"Mr. Phillips couldn't care one bit about Iran," Miedel said. "The punishment should fit the crime."

Federal sentencing guidelines provided for a prison term of 92 months to 115 months. Prosecutors argued against leniency.

"While the defendant expressed some unease about the potential use of the commodity, he nevertheless embraced the scheme," Assistant US Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a memorandum submitted to the court.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Sep 14, 2012
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