US Claims Chinese Companies Helping Iran Build Nuclear Weapons

File picture shows the Iranian flag fluttering over the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran on August 21, 2010. The electricity to be generated by the nuclear plant would be connected to the national grid by January, a delay of around two months from the earlier announced timeframe, atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on September 29, 2010. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE

Chinese firms bypass sanctions on Iran, U.S. says (Washington Post):

The Obama administration has concluded that Chinese firms are helping Iran to improve its missile technology and develop nuclear weapons, and has asked China to stop such activity, a senior U.S. official said.

During a visit to Beijing last month, a delegation led by Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department’s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, handed a “significant list” of companies and banks to their Chinese counterparts, according to the senior U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue in U.S.-Chinese relations. The official said the Obama administration thinks that the companies are violating U.N. sanctions, but that China did not authorize their activities.

The Obama administration faces a balancing act in pressing Beijing to stop the deals and limit Chinese investments in Iran’s energy industry. U.S. officials say they need to preserve their ability to work with China on issues ranging from the value of its currency to the stability of North Korea. But the administration also wants to make progress in efforts to dissuade Iran from building a nuclear weapon and to convince other powerful states that China is not receiving lenient treatment because of its energy needs.

“My government will investigate the issues raised by the U.S. side,” said Wang Baodong, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy.

Einhorn’s trip is part of a worldwide effort by the Obama administration to persuade countries to push Iran to enter into negotiations over its nuclear program, which the Islamic Republic says is peaceful. The Obama administration has cobbled together a growing network of countries and companies that have announced measures to cut investments in Iran.

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