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US slaps sanctions on Indian firms

The two firms have been accused of passing on sensitive technology to Iran that could be used to develop WMDs.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2006 10:58 IST

The US government has imposed sanctions on two Indian and five other companies from Russia, North Korea and Cuba for allegedly supplying banned equipment and technology to Iran.

These include two chemical manufacturers from India -- Balaji Amines Ltd and Prachi Poly Products Ltd. But the announcement in the US Federal Register Friday, which lists all government actions, did not specify what items were involved.

Imposed for allegedly violating a law aimed at preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction to Tehran, the sanctions put a ban on US government procurement and stop American firms from working with affected companies.

Also sanctioned were Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi and Rosoboronexport, a state-controlled arms exporter, Korean Mining and Industrial Development Corporation and Korea Pugang Trading Corporation, both North Korean, and Cuba's Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

The sanctions, however, apply only to the specific entities and their successors, sub-units or subsidiaries and not to their respective countries or governments.

Though listed on Friday, the sanctions under the Iran Non-proliferation Act 2000 became effective July 28, a day after the US House of Representatives approved the Indo-US nuclear deal by an overwhelming 359-68 vote. The Senate has yet to approve the nuclear pact.

The Washington Post reported last week that the Bush administration had taken a "secret decision" to impose sanctions on the two Indian firms before the House vote, but chose not to inform either the US Congress or New Delhi to avoid criticism during the debate on the floor.