- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

Chinese and European arms exporters were hit with U.S. economic sanctions for selling cruise missile and chemical weapons goods to Iran, The Washington Times has learned.
The sanctions were imposed on 14 companies and persons for violating the 2000 Iran Nonproliferation Act, which was passed into law in an effort to discourage exports that could boost Tehran's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile programs, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
According to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Chinese sanctions were imposed for sales of cruise missile components to Iran.
Iran is developing a new ground-launched anti-ship cruise missile based on a modified Chinese Silkworm missile, U.S. officials said. The Iranian missile would be powered by a turbojet engine and is expected to have a range of up to 310 miles.
The transfers also involved covert sales of glass-lined equipment special anti-corrosive goods that can be used to make chemical weapons, the officials said.
Iran has large stockpiles of chemical weapons, including blood, blister and choking agents and is known to be working on deadly nerve gas.
On Thursday, the State Department's bureau of nonproliferation listed nine companies and three persons who were sanctioned.
The State Department did not identify publicly all the companies that were sanctioned.
According to U.S. officials, the China North Industries Corp., also known as Norinco, also was hit with sanctions. The identity of the 14th sanctioned entity could not be learned, but one official said it was a Russian company.
The sanctions are largely symbolic because the companies involved in the missile and chemical weapons trade are unlikely to conclude contracts with U.S. government.
The Chinese entities that were sanctioned for the chemical weapons goods included the Liyang Chemical Equipment Co., and the Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant (also known as Chemet Global Ltd.), the Wha Cheong Tai Co., and the China National Machinery and Electric Equipment Import and Export Co.
The missile component sales to Iran led to sanctions on the China Shipbuilding Trading Co., the China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corp. and the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp.
Chinese national Q.C. Chen also was sanctioned.
The Armenian entities included one company, Lizen Open Joint Stock Co. and one person, Armen Sargsian.
The Moldovan elements included the company Cuanta, SA and Moldovan national Mikhail Pavlovich Vladov.
The sanctions bar any U.S. government agency from doing business with the companies and people.
In Beijing, China's Foreign Ministry denounced the sanctions.
"China expresses its opposition and dissatisfaction with the United States' unreasonable sanctions," said the ministry statement issued Friday.
"The Chinese government has consistently advocated comprehensively banning and utterly destroying all weapons of mass destruction and is opposed to the proliferation of such weapons," the statement said.
"China has strictly carried out its international obligations, drawn up a series of relevant laws and regulations and strictly controlled exports of relevant materials."
U.S. officials have been frustrated by the failure of the Chinese government to halt exports of weapons of mass destruction goods and military-related equipment to rogue states and unstable regions.
On Wednesday, Moldova's Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev told reporters in the capital, Chisinau, that he was not informed of the Moldovan company's involvement in the weapons-related sales.
Mr. Tarlev said U.S. officials informed his government about the "sale of sensitive military technology" by a private company. The company was closed last year, he said, according to the news agency Basapress.
A Moldovan legislator, Stefan Secareanu, was quoted by Basapress as saying that Moldovan businesses have been involved in selling military technology and weapons for several years. He said the companies involved in the Iran transfers were located in the eastern Moldovan region of Dniester and were "government-controlled."
"The U.S. considers that the firms that are involved in these transactions are run by Russian business people with close ties with high- ranking Moldovan officials," Mr. Secareanu said.
The sanctions imposed May 9 are the third time sanctions have been imposed on Chinese companies since September for arms-related sales.
China also was sanctioned for selling missile components to Pakistan in September. In January sanctions were imposed for Chinese sales of chemical and biological weapons goods to Iran.
Q.C. Chen, the Liyang Chemical Equipment Company and the China National Machinery and Electric Import and Export Company were punished for separate violations.


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