The US State Department said on Monday that it had slapped sanctions on 13 individuals and three private companies because of their involvement in the Pakistan-led Abdul Qadeer Khan nuclear-proliferation network.
“We believe these sanctions will help prevent future proliferation-related activities by these private entities, provide a warning to other would-be proliferators,” the department said.
The sanctions followed a multiyear US government review of information regarding the A.Q. Khan network, it said.
The entities provided an “extensive international network” for the proliferation of nuclear equipment and know-how that offered “one-stop” shopping for countries seeking to develop nuclear weapons, the State Department said.
Last year a UN nuclear watchdog said the A.Q. Khan network smuggled nuclear weaponisation blueprints to Iran, Libya and North Korea and was active in 12 countries.
“He and his associates provided Iran and Libya with centrifuge components, designs and in some cases, complete centrifuges,” it said.