US slaps sanctions on Indian firm for illegal arms sales
* Accuses Iran of pursuing nukes programme
WASHINGTON: The United States on Tuesday slapped sanctions on a Jordanian man and an Indian-registered firm for alleged illegal arms sales, proscribed by the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act.
The penalties, which were announced in a State Department notice published in the Federal Register, apply to Jordanian national Mohammed Al-Khatib and the Indian firm Protech Consultants Private, Ltd.
“The United States has determined that (these entities) have engaged in proliferation activities that require the imposition of measures pursuant to the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992,” the notice said. It did not elaborate on the alleged illegal activities or say whether they had involved Iraq, Iran or both.
US rejects Iranian claim: The United States on Monday rejected Iran’s assertion of peaceful nuclear aims and said the country was “clearly pursuing” nuclear arms.
“It’s hard to get a view into exactly what their motivations are, but very clearly they are pursing nuclear weapons,” US National Security spokesman Sean McCormack said, referring to Iranian leaders.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov denied here Tuesday that Iran is seeking to make nuclear weapons, contradicting allegations from the United States. “Iran has no plans to produce nuclear military projects, this is a fundamental truth,” Ivanov told a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharazi.
“Iran very strongly respects its obligations,” Ivanov said, while stressing the “right of every country to have a balance of its energy make-up.”
Uranium supply: Eighty tonnes of Russian uranium to fuel Iran’s first nuclear power station will be delivered in May and the plant itself will be operation in the second half of 2004, an Iranian official said Tuesday.
Media visit: Iran gave foreign media Tuesday a tour of its nuclear power plant under construction in the southern town of Bushehr in a bid to defuse US accusations that Tehran is secretly pursuing atomic weapons.
Hundreds of Russian and Iranian engineers could be seen working on the site, which was protected by a number of anti-aircraft weapons. —AFP