Page last updated at 20:29 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

US secretly detained Iranian over arms dealing

David  Weiss reveals the federal prosecution
David Weiss said Ardebili's only client was Iran

Federal prosecutors have revealed that the US secretly detained an Iranian man who admitted plotting to procure and smuggle arms to Iran.

Amir Ardebili was seized by undercover US agents overseas in 2007 following a five-year investigation.

In May 2008, he pleaded guilty in a US court to 14 counts related to arms trafficking, but this was only revealed on Wednesday.

He is due to be sentenced in a Delaware court on 14 December.

Court papers say he told an undercover agent that Iran believed "a war was coming".

In October, Iran complained to United Nations officials about how the US had seized Ardebili.

'National security'

Ardebili is said to have told the undercover agents that his job was to procure military hardware and weapons parts for Iran.

He is reported to have said the intention was to protect Iran from missile attacks and sought materials including components for missile guidance systems and fighter aircraft.

US attorney David Weiss said: "For years, the defendant was in the business of acquiring components, many with military applications, for the government of Iran.

"The government's investigation and prosecution has put the defendant out of business and removed this threat to our national security."

Ardebili was also known as Amir Ahkami and Alex Dave.

His court appearance in May 2008 was reportedly conducted under high security.

The windows of the court room were covered and a guard placed outdoors, the Delaware News Journal reported.

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