Russia criticizes US sanctions, defends non-proliferation controls
MOSCOW (AFP) Apr 03, 2004
Russia criticized the United States Saturday for slapping sanctions on two Russian companies accused of assisting Iran in its alleged nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes.

The Russian foreign ministry in a statement swiped at Washington for the unilateral measures and said that Russia strictly abided by its international commitments in fighting non-proliferation.

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on 13 companies and individuals from seven countries: five Chinese, two Macedonian and two Russian companies as well as one firm each from Belarus, North Korea, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

"Russia opposes the imposition of sanctions by one state against structures in other countries," the foreign ministry said.

"As far as non-proliferation is concerned, in Russia there are strict laws on export controls that conform to international standards and which allow us to prevent any illegal activity linked to trade in sensitive materials," it added.

US officials said it had uncovered much of the foreign companies' illegal trade from the unraveling of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's illicit nuclear proliferation network.

The targeted companies will be banned from exporting goods to or receiving contracts or assistance from the United States and US firms will be barred from trading with them for two years.

Russian media reports named one of the two firms in Russia as the Omsk Engine-Construction Plant, which manufactures engines for planes and rockets. An individual named as Vadim Vorobei is also reportedly on the US blacklist.