Friday, October 22, 2010

Chinese Companies Bypassing UN Sanctions on Iran, Says U.S.

Washington has concluded that Chinese businesses are bypassing United Nations sanctions against Iran, and aiding the Islamic Republic in its quest for nuclear weapons and more advanced missile technology.

Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, visited Beijing last month to meet with Chinese officials about a “significant list” of Chinese companies and banks which the Obama administration believes to be violating UN sanctions.
A senior U.S. official told the Washington Post, speaking on condition of anonymity, that U.S. intelligence believes several Chinese companies are providing restricted materials and technology to Tehran’s military programs. According to the official, several Chinese banks have been involved in such activities with Iran, before and after the latest round of UN sanctions.
“China now is the only country with a major oil and gas industry that’s prepared to deal with Iran,” the U.S. official said. “Everyone else has pulled out. They stand alone.”
China has denied that it allows its firms to help Iran develop its nuclear program, and on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China is enforcing the sanctions against Iran, and that it has fulfilled its international obligations.
With Iran poised to take the influential post of presidency of the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (opec) in 2011, oil-thirsty China has more reason than ever to seek good terms with Tehran, even if it’s at the expense of Beijing’s relationship with Washington.
As China’s drive for resources surges on, Beijing will be less and less concerned about abiding by the agendas of Western nations.