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Friday, August 31, 2007      New: Take a Stand

Report: Chinese firms in Iran providing strategic and infrastructure support

More than 100 Chinese companies are working inside Iran, providing a range of goods and services in such areas as energy, dam and shipbuilding, steel production and airport and seaport development, the London-based Realite-EU reported.

Trade between Iran and China increased from $1.2 billion in 1998 to about $10 billion last year, while Iran is the second-largest oil exporter to China after Saudi Arabia, sending Beijing around $5.8 billion worth of crude oil along with petrochemical products.

China also has been shipping weapons and military technology to Iran for at least a decade and is believed to have provided some materials being used by Iran in its illegal uranium enrichment program, according to U.S. officials.

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Beijing officials have ignored U.S. protests against Chinese involvement in Iran. Beijing either denies the involvement or claims that Chinese companies are engaged in non-military trade.

Ali Akbar Saheli, Iran's former representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the two countries "mutually complement each other, they have industry and we have energy resources." In July 2004, Iranís parliamentary speaker, Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, said China supported Iranís nuclear programs.

China also played a key role in Iran's missile development, with exports and assistance dating back 20 years. They include anti-ship cruise missiles, including the C-802, the HY-2 Silkworm, and technical assistance for Iran's ballistic missile program.

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