Senators Raise Questions about Possible Iran Sanction Violations by China

Just before “Chinese President Hu Jintao’s arrival to Washington, two leading senators accused China of violating sanctions against Iran and warn[ed] President Barack Obama that Congress will go after Chinese companies if the abuses don’t stop,” The Cable reports.

"We appreciate China’s decision to support U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, as well as China’s backing of prior U.N. sanctions against Iran. However, we believe that China’s record on sanctions enforcement and nonproliferation is inadequate and disappointing," Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) wrote to President Obama on Jan. 14 in a previously unreported letter.

The senators cited numerous reports that China is supplying crucial materials to aid Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and alleged that Beijing continues to give monetary and material support to Iran’s energy sectors, including the delivery of refined petroleum products, which could provoke penalties under U.S. laws passed by Congress, including the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act that Obama signed into law in July, 2010.

The senators specifically named the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and the China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC) as firms that could come under U.S. penalties.

"We urge you to warn President Hu that the U.S. will be forced to sanction these companies if they do not quickly suspend their ties with Iran," the senators wrote.

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