The sanctions are imposed on two organisations in Belarus – TM Services Limited (TMS) and the managing company of Radar Systems Holding and its subsidiaries, the State Department said.
In addition, five physical and juridical persons from China (BST Technology and Trade Company, China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CPMIEC), LIMMT, Poly Technologies Incorporated and Carl Li; three persons from Iran (Iran Electronics Industries IEI, Marine Industries Organisation MIO, as well as Milad Jafari; two persons from Sudan (Al-Zarqa Engineering Complex and SMT Engineering); the state-run Venezuelan Military-Industrial Company will be included in the blacklist. Sanctions will be imposed on their subsidiaries.
According to the U.S. authorities, the actions taken by these companies and citizens could contribute to creating weapons of mass destructions, cruise or ballistic missiles.
The sanctions imply that the U.S. government is banned to sign contracts with these companies in order to acquire goods, service and technologies. In addition, these physical and juridical persons cannot buy U.S. arms and military hardware.
A decision to impose sanctions was taken on December 20, 2012. It came into effect on February 5, 2013. A corresponding resolution was signed by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-proliferation Programmes Simon Limage. The sanctions will be effective for two years. They can be lifted ahead of time under the decision of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Voice of Russia, TASS
The nuclear seesaw with the US and Iran as its main partners is swaying again.
Mixed signals have come lately from Washington. On the one hand, Vice President Joe Biden last week offered that the two countries hold bilateral talks, and a new meeting of the Group of Six (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) with Iran's participation is scheduled for February 26 in the Kazakh city of Almaty.
On the other hand, as reported by the BBC, on Wednesday the US tightened the sanctions regime against Iran which further restrict Iran's access to its own oil revenues, but also includes financial restrictions against Iran's state-run media.
Any money Iran now makes from the sale of oil to nine countries currently granted American waivers, including China, India and Turkey, must now be credited to an account in those countries and not repatriated to Iran.
This clearly means that the US does not limit itself to measures against its own subjects, but also meddles in Iran's bilateral relations with other countries. More so, in its anti-Iranian fervor, the US is ready to risk the relationship with countries it is so eager to turn into its proxies in Asia – Turkey and India, by twisting their arms. And it has been demonstrated more than once lately that on the "Iranian issue" India's stance is totally distinct from that of the US.
Replying to the mixed signals coming from Washington, Iran's ambassador to Moscow Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said on Wednesday that progress at talks between world powers and Iran on its nuclear program will depend on the United States showing "genuine honesty and goodwill".
"If they (the United States) demonstrate genuine goodwill and honesty, we'll have the best possible talks," Reuters quotes Sajjadi as saying.
It should be noted that the tactics of sending mixed signals is Washington's common practice. One could recall the widely publicized "reset" of US – Russian relations soon after Ms. Hillary Clinton put on the shoes of Secretary of State. In fact, the Russian wording under the red "reset" button did not mean "reset" but rather "overload", and later it turned out that this had been the genuine US intention from the very beginning.
This time, the slim hopes of a "reset" in US – Iranian relations evaporated even sooner than those in US – Russian relations.
The US is going ahead in its pressure on Iran even in cases that have nothing to do with the notorious "nuclear program". In its sanctions against Iranian media, Washington does not even take any effort to conceal the fact that it is directly interfering in Iran's internal affairs, punishing those in Iran who allegedly stifle dissent, using the usual smokescreen of "human rights abuses".
"We will also target those in Iran who are responsible for human rights abuses, especially those who deny the Iranian people their basic freedoms of expression, assembly and speech," the BBC quotes the US Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen.
The increased US pressure on Iran comes against a background of news that its European allies are sort of stepping back. On Tuesday, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, a European Union court ruled that the EU should lift sanctions it imposed on one of Iran's largest banks. In its ruling, the EU's General Court said the EU had failed to provide sufficient evidence that Bank Saderat was involved in Iran's nuclear program. This further weakens the EU's sanctions regime imposed against Iran.
This hardly seems to bother the US. It has also been reported that when US President Barack Obama visits Israel this spring, his overt agenda would include "urgent" measures to revive peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. But, according to Israeli diplomatic sources, his talks with Premier Benjamin Netanyahu would focus on Iran.
"The peace process may be the subject that is initially emphasized in public but there are other issues on the table," an Israeli diplomat was quoted by The Daily Telegraph. "The deal they will have done may be on the subject of war, not of peace."
An old Latin saying goes, "If you wish for peace, prepare for war". The US strategy should be reformulated as, "If you prepare for war, speak of peace."