Nearly a decade after 9/11, a veteran of Iran’s military was able to secure a green card, land a job with an aerospace contractor, and transmit trade secrets to his brother working on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. That is the disturbing takeaway from a 14-page indictment against Amin Hasanzadeh, a legal permanent resident from Iran, which was unsealed in a Michigan federal court last week.
According to the criminal complaint from the FBI, Hasanzadeh, 42, stole documents and technical data from the aerospace contractor where he was employed and emailed them to his brother Sina, who was working for companies that contribute to Iran’s cruise missile and nuclear weapons programs. He is also accused of lying on his immigration documents and concealing the fact that he was in the Iranian military. In addition to serving in Iran’s military, Amin also worked for an Iranian company that services Iran’s weapons programs prior to his emigration.
Shockingly, without any circumspection, Hasanzadeh was given a student visa in December 2010 and granted a green card in 2013 without any concern that his background in engineering and his plan to work on sensitive defense contractor projects here could compromise our national security and trade secrets.
From 2011 to 2013, he worked for Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems, a cleared defense contractor, “where he specialized in developing power electronics computer designs, modeling and simulation.” On January 12, 2015, Hasanzadeh obtained employment at an unnamed aerospace company (referred to as “Victim Company A” in the complaint) as a hardware engineer. Within six days of employment, according to the complaint, he began transmitting sensitive information though his personal email to his Iranian brother, a practice that continued through June 2016. The FBI believes, based on prior email correspondence with Sina, that Amin sought out this job for the very purpose of handing over this information. He allegedly sent drawings and schematics marked “confidential” that, according to company officials, “were critical to the development and use of one of Victim Company A’s most important projects.”
In 2014, he married an unnamed person of interest (referred to as “Person A” in the complaint) who herself came here as one of the many Iranian foreign students the year before. Amin is accused of sending her information as well. “Investigation revealed the existence of thousands of Victim Company A documents in Person A’s cloud storage that is associated with her University of Michigan email account,” read the complaint, which was signed on October 31. The Iranian spouse eventually overstayed her visa and is in the country illegally while she is attempting to apply for a green card.