US imposes sanctions on Iranian firm over nuclear work

The United States on Friday ordered a freeze on the assets of an Iranian defence contractor accused of involvement in Tehran’s nuclear and missile programs.
The sanctions were ordered by the State Department against Iran’s Defence Industries Organisation (DIO) under the terms of two UN Security Council resolutions adopted since December which are aimed at forcing Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
The resolutions require states to freeze the assets of certain entities and
individuals associated with Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
The DIO is one of seven nuclear-related entities listed in an annex to the December resolution, which was expanded by a second Security Council action adopted last week.
The company was named by the UN nuclear watchdog as a supplier of parts for centrifuges used to enrich uranium, a process which can produce fuel for nuclear power stations or material for atomic weapons.
The US measure was largely symbolic since the DIO was already subject to US sanctions under various US laws.
“We’d be surprised if there were any (DIO) assets in the United States or under the control of US entities,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
“But there may well be, and so we are going to go through and do due diligence to make sure if there are any of those assets we do find them and we’re going to freeze them,” he said.
Iran has refused to suspend its nuclear fuel reprocessing work, insisting it is for the sole purpose of development a civilian nuclear power industry, as allowed under international treaties.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2007