China opposes new US Iran-related sanctions on Chinese entities

BEIJING (Reuters): China’s Commerce Ministry opposes new US Iran-related sanctions on Chinese entities and nationals, and Washington should stop its unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises and individuals, a spokesperson said on Monday.

“The US action lacks factual basis and due process, harming the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and individuals. China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and individuals,” the spokesperson said when answering a reporter’s question on the move.

Last week, the United States imposed sanctions on more than a dozen people and entities in China, Hong Kong and Iran, including Iran’s defense attache in Beijing, over accusations they helped procure parts and technology for key actors in Iran’s ballistic missile development.

The official IRNA news agency reported Iran had presented what officials described as its first domestically made hypersonic ballistic missile, an announcement likely to heighten Western concerns about Tehran’s missile capabilities.

“The United States will continue to target illicit transnational procurement networks that covertly support Iran’s ballistic missile production and other military programs,” Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement.

Washington has imposed extensive sanctions on Iran over the years, including over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and accusations of human rights abuse.

The Treasury statement accused Iran’s defense attache in Beijing, Davoud Damghani, of coordinating military-related procurements from China for Iranian end-users, including subsidiaries of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL).

Washington targeted centrifuge sales to Parchin Chemical Industries (PCI), dual-use metals sales to its intermediary, PB Sadr, and MODAFL’s electronics procurement, according to the statement. Both PCI and PB Sadr were previously hit with sanctions by the United States.

China and Iran in March 2021 signed a 25-year cooperation agreement to strengthen their longstanding economic and political alliance.

China has been a major buyer of Iranian oil despite US sanctions designed to choke off these exports.

Among those targeted were China-based Zhejiang Qingji Ind Co, Ltd, which the Treasury accused of selling centrifuges and other equipment and services worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to PCI with PB Sadr as an intermediary.

Also among those sanctioned were Hong Kong Ke Do International Trade Co Limited and China-based Qingdao Zhongrongtong Trade Development Co Ltd, which the Treasury accused of engaging in the sale of tens of millions of dollars worth of dual-use, nonferrous metals to PB Sadr.