Chinese firms, banks bypassing UN sanctions to aid Iran's nuke weapons programme: US

Washington, Oct 18 (ANI): The Obama administration has stated that Chinese firms are aiding Iran to improve its missile technology and develop nuclear weapons, and has urged China to stop such activities, according to a senior U.S. official.

According to the Washington Post, the official further claimed that a US delegation led by Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department's special adviser for non-proliferation and arms control, handed a "significant list" of companies and banks to their Chinese counterparts during their visit to Beijing last month, which according to the Obama administration, are violating U.N. sanctions, but added that China did not authorize their activities.

US officials said the Obama administration reportedly faces the challenge of persuading Beijing to stop the deals and limit Chinese investments in Iran's energy industry, and added that both the countries should deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon, the paper said.

Einhorn's trip is part of a worldwide effort by the Obama administration to persuade countries to push Iran to enter into negotiations over its nuclear program, and has also threaded together a growing network of countries and companies that have announced measures to cut investments in Iran, it added.

Following the sanctions by the U.N. Security Council against Iran in June, the United States, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Canada passed laws to further restrict investment in Iran's energy sector.

INPEX, the Japanese energy giant, announced last week that it was pulling out of Iran. Russia has also recently cancelled its sale of advanced antiaircraft missile to Iran, refunding the 900 million dollars sticker price. In such a situation, China is the only major economy investing in Iran's energy industry, the paper added.

"China now is the only country with a major oil and gas industry that's prepared to deal with Iran. Everyone else has pulled out. They stand alone," the U.S. official said.

According to U.S. intelligence officials, several Chinese companies have also been involved in providing restricted technology and materials to Iran's military programs, and further stated that Chinese banks were involved in such deals with Iran both before and after the enhanced U.N. sanctions were approved in June, the paper said. (ANI)

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