- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The United States has imposed sanctions on 14 foreigners, companies and government agencies, including the Syrian navy and air force, in an effort to stop transfers of advanced weaponry to and from Iran and Syria.

The 14 — which also include Lebanon’s radical Hezbollah movement and firms from China, Malaysia, Mexico and Singapore — are accused of selling to or buying from those governments missile technology or material to make weapons of mass destruction.

The sanctions, announced by the State Department yesterday, bar any U.S. aid, government contracts or export licenses to the named entities for two years. They may be renewed at any time during that period.

State Department officials refused to comment on specific accusations against those listed in the notice because the determinations involved sensitive intelligence. But, they said Washington has “credible evidence” that they had been involved in illicit transfers.

The measures are largely symbolic because many of the targets are already subject to U.S. sanctions for previous similar transactions, most recently in December 2006, officials said.

However, it is the first time that the Syrian navy and air force have been identified as violators of the, Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Ac.

It is also the first listing for Hezbollah, which is backed by both Syria and Iran and is covered by existing U.S. sanctions on “foreign terrorist organizations.”

Other violators named in yesterday’s notice are:

• China National Precision Machinery Import/Export Corp.

• Shanghai Non-Ferrous Metals Pudong Development Trade Company of China

• Zibo Chemet Equipment Company of China

• Iran’s Defense Industries Organization

• Singapore’s Sokkia company

• Syria’s Army Supply Bureau

• Syria’s Industrial Establishment of Defense

• Challenger Corp. of Malaysia

• Malaysia’s Target Airfreight

• Mexico’s Aerospace Logistics Services

• Arif Durrani, a Pakistan citizen

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