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US Puts Sanctions On Companies Aiding Iran Weapons Program

WASHINGTON (voa) – Washington is imposing sanctions on companies in China, Armenia and Moldova for selling equipment to Iran that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The sanctions prohibit the companies from doing business with the U.S. government, or taking part in any U.S. aid program for the next two years. The companies’ names and the nature of their exports to Iran were not disclosed.

Thursday’s announcement marks the third time in nine months that Chinese companies have been cited for violating U.S. non-proliferation laws.

In January, President Bush said Iran was part of an “axis of evil” – countries that he said sponsor terrorism and are trying to develop nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The other two axis countries named by Mr. Bush were North Korea and Iraq.

U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher acknowledged that it is unclear what, if any, effect the sanctions will have on the companies.

U.S. officials say the companies’ sales also violated the multi-lateral Missile Technology Control Regime. The treaty seeks to halt the transfer of longer range missiles and prevent the spread of chemical and biological weapons.

The Bush administration will send notification to Congress about the action, which is being taken under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000.

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