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Friday, July 28, 2006

U.S. Accuses Indian Firms of Missile Sales to Iran

U.S. officials said yesterday the Bush administration plans to sanction two Indian firms for transfers of “dual-use items related to missiles” to Iran (see GSN, July 25).

“We are going to report to Congress about transactions by two private Indian companies with Iran” under the U.S. Iran-Syria Nonproliferation Act, one official told Reuters.

The administration is required to report violations of the law to Congress every six months, Reuters reported, though sanctions are applied at the discretion of the White House. Details of the sanctions to be imposed against the Indian firms were not disclosed.

A U.S. official said the administration attempted to inform Congress about the sanctions before the House voted Wednesday on legislation to implement a U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear technology sharing agreement (see GSN, July 27).

However, a congressional aide said he did not learn of the report until yesterday.

“Clearly they were waiting for the House to vote on the nuclear agreement,” the aide said. He said lawmakers, had they known of the development, might have deferred that vote until India was pressed for more cooperation on curtailing Iran’s controversial nuclear program (Carol Giacomo, Reuters, July 27).
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