Sanctions on 34 firms over Russia, Iran, China ties

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Commerce Department says sanctions were imposed for their involvement or risk of becoming involved in, activities contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the US, reports Asian Lite News

The US announced sanctions against 34 companies and other entities involved with China’s military and policy toward the Uighur Muslim minority, and for facilitating exports to Russia and Iran.

The group was sanctioned “for their involvement in, or risk of becoming involved in, activities contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States,” the Commerce Department said in a statement.

Fourteen are based in China and involved in its policy toward the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the northwest Xinjiang region, where the statement said Beijing “continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Another five were involved with assisting China’s military acquire lasers and other technology to modernize its military.

Eight entities were sanctioned for exporting US technology to Iran, the Commerce Department said, while another seven were blacklisted for involvement with Russia’s military.

“We will continue to aggressively use export controls to hold governments, companies, and individuals accountable for attempting to access US-origin items for subversive activities in countries like China, Iran, and Russia,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

Russia slams sanctions

Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, DC has described the Biden administration’s blacklisting of Russian firms for security reasons a “confrontational” move, as relations between the countries fray even further.

The comments by Anatoly Antonov were in response to the announcement by the U.S. Commerce Department that Russian firms were among 34 global entities banned because their activities were opposed to “the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States.”

A statement by Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, said that the ban on Russian entities was due to “their involvement in the procurement of U.S.-origin electronic components, likely in furtherance of Russian military programs.

“Additionally, Commerce added one entity to the Military End-User List under the destination of Russia,” the statement added.

However, Antonov complained that the U.S. did not “provide any specifics” regarding the alleged violations by the Russian firms.

“They used the notorious ‘likely’, saying that our companies allegedly bought electronic components from the USA for some Russian military programs,” he said in a statement in Russian and English on his embassy’s Facebook page.

“This approach does not stand up to scrutiny. This is another confrontational step as part of Washington’s deliberate efforts to restrict the access of domestic enterprises to high-precision technologies from abroad,” he said.

Antonov added that the move “fundamentally contrasts” with U.S. statements, including during the Geneva summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, “about the need to normalize the entire range of bilateral relations.”

Only last month, Antonov returned to Washington, DC after spending almost three months in Moscow, following a diplomatic spat between the capitals, which followed U.S. sanctions for the SolarWinds hack and U.S. election interference.

Tensions also increased after Biden agreed with an interviewer that Putin was a “killer.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week warned that Moscow would respond “harshly and resolutely to unfriendly steps,” from the US.

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