U.S. Punishes 14 for Iran Arms Trade

By Boese, Wade | Arms Control Today, November 2004 | Go to article overview

U.S. Punishes 14 for Iran Arms Trade


Boese, Wade, Arms Control Today


The United States has sanctioned 14 entities from seven different countries for allegedly providing Iran with exports that could be used to develop unconventional weapons and the means to deliver them. The move came amid ongoing worldwide uncertainty about Iran's nuclear intentions and ballistic missile advances.

On Sept. 29, the Department of State announced penalties on seven Chinese companies; two individuals from India; and one company each from Belarus, North Korea, Russia, Spain, and Ukraine for running afoul of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. That law authorizes the president to penalize any foreign entity that transfers items to Iran that could aid its pursuit of dangerous weapons. A State Department official told Arms Control Today Oct. 12 that the offending transactions occurred more than a year ago.

However, the official said some of the entities, namely those sanctioned multiple times by Washington, might still have an ongoing relationship with Iran. The North Korean and Belarusian companies and four of the Chinese companies had already been hit with sanctions under the same law in April.

All the recently sanctioned entities will be barred from U.S. government contracts and aid, as well as all U.S. arms and dual-use exports, for two years.

Although U.S. proliferation sanctions are largely symbolic because the entities rarely do business with the U.S. government, Bush administration officials argue sanctions are valuable because they help stigmatize companies and individuals, applying indirect pressure to foreign governments to rein them in.

The Bush administration has leveled sanctions for proliferation transactions 98 times over four years, exceeding 70 imposed by the Clinton administration in its eight years. More than half of the sanctions imposed by the Bush administration explicity concerned transactions with Iran.

Nonetheless, foreign governments and companies continue to pursue ties, including in the nuclear sector, with Tehran, which also appears to be forging ahead with its ballistic missile program.

Former Iranian President AIi Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Oct. …

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