US sanctions group of people and companies from Iran, China and Hong Kong linked to Iran’s missile program

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States said Tuesday it was sanctioning a group of people and companies from Iran, China and Hong Kong associated with the alleged development of Iran’s ballistic missile program.

The network of seven people and six companies “facilitated the procurement of sensitive and critical parts and technology for key players in Iran’s ballistic missile development,” including Iran’s Defense Ministry and its affiliated companies, according to the department. of the Treasury.

Among the sanctions targets is the China-based company Zhejiang Qingji, which allegedly sold centrifuges and other materials to an Iran-based company affiliated with the country’s defense ministry. Several executives from Qingji and Hong Kong-based Lingoe Process Engineering Limited, which the Treasury said served as a front company for the Chinese company, have also been singled out for sanctions.

Also named is Iran’s Defense Attaché in Beijing, Davoud Damghani, who is supposed to coordinate purchases from China for Iranian end users.

Among other things, the sanctions prevent people and businesses from accessing any property or financial assets held in the United States and prevent American businesses and citizens from doing business with them.

The latest round of financial sanctions comes as Iran recently claimed to have created a hypersonic missile capable of traveling at 15 times the speed of sound, adding a new weapon to its arsenal as tensions remain high with the United States in about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Tensions between the United States and Iran are also high amid months of anti-government protests in Iran and Western anger over Iran’s export of attack drones to Russian forces fighting in Ukraine.

Brian E. Nelson, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said the United States “will continue to target illicit transnational supply networks that covertly support ballistic missile production and other military programs. of Iran”.

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Associated Press reporter Jon Gambrell in Abu Dhabi contributed to this report.

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