Iran General NewsUS imposes sanctions on arms suppliers to Iran, Syria

US imposes sanctions on arms suppliers to Iran, Syria

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AFP: The United States announced sanctions Friday against 24 foreign entities, including Russian, Chinese and North Korean firms, for allegedly selling banned weapons to Iran and Syria. WASHINGTON, Jan 5, 2007 (AFP) – The United States announced sanctions Friday against 24 foreign entities, including Russian, Chinese and North Korean firms, for allegedly selling banned weapons to Iran and Syria.

The move drew a sharp protest from Moscow.

Russia’s state-run arms exporter Rosoboroneksport was among the highest profile firms hit by the measures, imposed under the 2005 Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

Three Chinese state-run companies, two other Russian firms and a Russian individual as well as entities from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Malaysia and Mexico were hit by the sanctions, published Friday in the US Federal Register.

The measures took effect as of December 28, a State Department official said. The government did not specify exactly what sales or transfers to Iran or Syria had prompted the punitive steps.

The sanctions law, which dates back to 1999 for Iran and 2005 for Syria, bars US government dealings with companies, governments or individuals caught transferring missile technology, weapons of mass destruction of advanced conventional arms to the two countries.

While the US measures are often largely symbolic, notably when they concern firms in countries such as North Korea, Iran and Syria, they can impact the international dealings of some firms and drew a sharp response Friday from the Russians.

“The introduction of umpteen sanctions against us is a form of unfair competition targeting our company and all Russia,” said Valery Kartavtsev, a spokesman of Rosoboronexport.

Rosoboronexport was already hit with US sanctions in August for allegedly providing Iran with equipment that could be used in the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Russian aircraft firm Sukhoi was also targetted by those measures, but the sanctions were lifted against the jetmaker in November after angry protests from Moscow.

Kartavtsev told Russian television his company had doubled its arms exports over the past five years, notably with sales to lucrative markets in Latin America.

He said Rosoboronexport adhered strictly to international and Russian law and had not yet received any official notification of the sanctions.

The deputy chief of another group listed Friday, the Tula Bureau of Studies and Mechanical Construction, said: “Our high technology arms deliveries abroad are in strict conformity with Russian and international rules.”

Vassily Gryazev was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying the sanctions would only have symbolic value bcause his company had no business links with the US.

Vladimir Pekhtin, Deputy Speaker of the Duma, or lower House in Moscow, said the real reason for the sanctions was that “the American administration is simply afraid of competition from Russian companies.”

The other Russian firm cited in the sanctions was the Kolomna Design Bureau of Machine-Building, while one individual, Alexey Safonov, was named without further information given.

The targetted Chinese firms were China National Electronic Import-Export Company, China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Company and Zibo Chemet Equipment Company.

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