The United States imposed sanctions Dec. 23 on nine foreign firms for allegedly making exports to Iran that could contribute to unconventional weapons programs. It also rescinded 2004 sanctions against an Indian citizen.
Six Chinese companies, two Indian firms, and an Austrian company were penalized under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. For two years, the accused will be barred from receiving U.S. government contracts, assistance, or military trade, as well as any goods controlled by the 1979 Export Administration Act, which regulates exports that have both civilian and military purposes.
The Bush administration had sanctioned three of the Chinese firms earlier. One of them, NORINCO, now has been penalized for the seventh time. Still, three of the Chinese companies—Hongdu Aviation Industry Group, LIMMT Metallurgy and Minerals Company Ltd., and Ounion International Economic and Technical Cooperative Ltd.—had not been sanctioned previously.
Similarly, two Indian firms, Sabero Organic Chemicals Gujarat Ltd. and Sandhya Organic Chemicals PVT Ltd., as well as an Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher GmbH, were punished for the first time. The sanctions come at an awkward time for the Indian and U.S. governments, which have lauded India’s nonproliferation credentials as a justification for increasing bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation. (See ACT, September 2005.)
Both New Delhi and Beijing protested the sanctions. A spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs Dec. 28 called the penalties “not justified,” while a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dec. 29 expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the U.S. action.
India, however, welcomed the U.S. decision to remove September 2004 Iran Nonproliferation Act sanctions on Dr. C. Surendar, a retired scientist from India’s atomic energy establishment. (See ACT, November 2004.) It also urged that sanctions levied at the same time against Dr. Y. S. R. Prasad be waived.All told, the Bush administration has imposed proliferation sanctions 134 times against 81 foreign entities. Thirty-three Chinese entities account for 68 of the sanctions. A dozen North Korean firms have racked up 21 sanctions, while seven Indian entities have totaled eight penalties. The remaining sanctions are spread out among 29 entities in at least 13 different countries and Taiwan.