US sanctions Chinese, Russian firms over Iran dealings

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuses the four firms of ‘transferring sensitive technology and items’ to Iran’s missile programme.

Iran ballistic missiles
Iran says that it has the right build missiles for self-defence, adding that it is not covered in the nuclear deal with the West [File: Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via Reuters]

The United States on Friday announced economic sanctions on Chinese and Russian companies that Washington said had supported the development of Iran’s missile programme.

The four firms, accused of “transferring sensitive technology and items to Iran’s missile programme”, will be subject to restrictions on US government aid and on their exports for two years, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The sanctions, imposed on Wednesday, were against two Chinese-based companies, Chengdu Best New Materials and Zibo Elim Trade, as well as Russia-based Nilco Group and Joint Stock Company Elecon.

“We will continue to work to impede Iran’s missile development efforts and use our sanctions authorities to spotlight the foreign suppliers, such as these entities in the PRC (China) and Russia, that provide missile-related materials and technology to Iran,” Pompeo added.

An earlier report by Bloomberg, citing a State Department filing, also mentioned a third Russia-based company, Aviazapchast, as among those being sanctioned.

But it is unclear why Aviazapchast was not mentioned in the later statement.

President Donald Trump withdrew the US in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal established three years prior under then-President Barack Obama.

Trump has since reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran in what he calls a campaign of “maximum pressure”.

The Trump administration has also since shown its determination to sanction any foreign country or company that does not comply with its Iran policies.

Source: AFP, Al Jazeera