Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The governments of China and Russia have denounced sanctions imposed on their state-run companies by the Bush administration over missile and weapons of mass destruction sales to Iran and Syria.

“It is unreasonable for the American government to invoke its domestic law to sanction on Chinese companies without providing any evidence,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said this week in Beijing.

“We express resolute opposition and strongly urge the U.S. to correct its wrong practice,” he said.

The State Department last week imposed sanctions on 23 foreign companies and one Russian national under a U.S. law aimed at preventing the arming of Iran and Syria.

The companies included three Chinese state-run firms that have been the target of U.S. sanctions in the past over arms and missile sales, and three Russian firms, including the state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport, whose subsidiaries will be barred under the sanctions from supplying material to U.S. aircraft manufacturers.

Sanctions against Rosoboronexport, along with the Kolomna Design Bureau of Machine-Building, and Tula Design Bureau of Instrument Building are “illegal,” according to Russia’s foreign ministry.

“Russian companies have regularly been accused of alleged assistance to missile and WMD programs or alleged deliveries banned by the international export control regime to Syria and Iran on the basis of the U.S. Iran and Syria Non-proliferation Act,” the statement said.

“The U.S. has tried to extrapolate its domestic laws to foreign companies, to make them work under U.S. rules,” it said.

The ministry said sanctions imposed in August on Rosoboronexport and the Sukhoi aircraft company were altered based on Russian responses. Sanctions on Sukhoi were lifted, but those on Rosoboronexport remain in place.

“As a result of politicized actions, the U.S. deprives itself and U.S. companies of cooperation with Russia’s most advanced companies,” the statement said. “This is called the loss of opportunities in business.”

The State Department declined to provide details on what triggered the sanctions last week. But Bush administration officials said they resulted from Russian anti-tank missile sales to Syria that ended up in the hands of Hezbollah terrorists and were used against Israel, as well as goods sent from China sold to Iran that were linked to Tehran’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and missile systems.

In addition to the three Chinese firms and three Russian companies and one Russian national, the sanctions bar other international companies from doing business with the U.S. government or purchasing export-controlled goods from the United States.

The companies sanctioned include four Iranian state-run companies: Defense Industries Organization, Iran Electronics Industries, NAB Export Co. and Sanam Industrial Group, which has been linked in the past to illegal purchases of nuclear-related goods.

An Iraqi company, Abu Hamadi and Iraqi national Kal Al-Zuhiry also were sanctioned.

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