Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Not in My Back-Yard . . . Maybe So

Like many people, when I’m reading the paper, I just skim the headlines and may not always connect with the articles. For instance, here was a headline from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer – ‘Chesco Man with Iran Dealings to be Sentenced’. I see those headlines and think Chester County . . . hmm; the man is probably from West Chester. I am not sure why I would think ‘Chesco Man’ means Man from West Chester, except that West Chester is the county seat . . . a university town . . . has a diverse population. West Chester is certainly not South Philly but there is a sense of urban living and I guess the closest area that someone could live his or her life with a sense of anonymity. And don’t we watch the news and need to believe ‘bad’ news happens somewhere else and that ‘bad’ news doesn’t happen to people that we know. That kind of news cannot possibly be about someone we know and certainly cannot happen in our backyard.

So here you go, the ‘Chesco Man with Iran Dealings to be Sentenced’ is from our own backyard . . . Berwyn . . . and Ali Amirnazmi could have been our next-door neighbor. Amirnazmi is a dual US and Iranian citizen who ran TranTech Consultants, an Exton business specializing in software for chemical companies. The 65-year old Berwyn chemical engineer will be sentenced today for engaging in illicit business deals, on three counts of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which authorized sanctions against Iran. A brilliant man, Amirnazmi’s defense attorney Elizabeth Ainslie will argue that her client was a productive, law-abiding citizen for many years. He was a graduate of Tehran and Stanford Universities and resided in Berwyn for 28 years.

According to US attorney Stephen Miller, Amirnazmi has engaged in business transactions with Iranian companies for over a decade, some of which are run by the Iranian government. Miller argues that the sentencing-guideline range of 97 to 121 months is appropriate, particularly because some of the chemicals Amirnazmi planned to provide to Iran are used to make rocket propellants.

So what does this say . . . ? Our world is indeed smaller than we think it is (or maybe just smaller than we want to believe it is).

Are we going to look at our next-door neighbor differently today? Probably not.

I just found this article something interesting to talk about on this cold, January morning in Tredyffrin Township. Community matters, any thoughts?

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