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Wednesday, October 27, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. intel: China still aiding Iran 'in clear violation of UN sanctions'

WASHINGTON — The U.S. intelligence community has determined that China, despite United Nations sanctions, continues to support Iran's missile and nuclear programs.


Officials said the U.S. intelligence community has been tracking Chinese exports to Iran's missile and nuclear programs. They said some of the exports were under the direct authority of the government in Beijing.

"China has been acting in clear violation of UN sanctions," an official said.

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Officials said the administration of President Barack Obama has relayed several warnings to Beijing over the last three months. In September, a State Department delegation led by Robert Einhorn briefed the Chinese government on companies and banks that allegedly trade with Iran in violation of UN sanctions, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Most of the objectionable [Chinese] exports were in the field of missiles, with a few to Iran's nuclear program," the official said.

The U.S. intelligence community has identified Chinese companies that exported a range of restricted material used in Iran's nuclear program. One Chinese company was said to have supplied Iran with such material as graphite, maraging steel and aluminum alloys in a deal that went through U.S. banks.

"China now is the only country with a major oil and gas industry that's prepared to deal with Iran," a U.S. official told the Washington Post. "Everyone else has pulled out. They stand alone."

The Obama administration has not ruled out imposing sanctions on Chinese companies. Under the administration of Obama's successor, George W. Bush, Washington announced 62 sanctions, most of them regarding trade with Iran.

Officials said some of the Chinese exports to Iran were financed by Chinese banks. They said the deals were not hampered by UN sanctions on Iran in June.

"We did provide some information to China on specific concerns about individual Chinese companies, and the Chinese assured us that they will investigate," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.

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