The US Department of Commerce has announced that it's added 12 foreign entities and individuals, including some from China and Pakistan, to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List, effectively banning them from selling US-controlled technologies.
Among them are four firms from China that, as the US claims, tried to procure American technologies for Iran, which allegedly could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction. Additionally four individuals from the United Arab Emirates were added to the list for trying to export US-made items to the Iranian airline, Mahan Air, which has been under US sanctions since 2011.
Two Chinese firms were also banned. The US Department of Commerce claims they were helping to export sensitive technology to firms, allegedly affiliated with the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
"We cannot allow China's civil-military integration strategy to undermine U.S. national security through prohibited technology transfer plots orchestrated by state actors", said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Ross further stated that one Pakistani firm had been banned for "procuring controlled technology on behalf of that country's unsafeguarded nuclear activities" without going into details or naming the firm. Furthermore, one more UAE citizen was added to the "Entity List" for blocking US BIS end-use inspection of a cargo.
The additions to the list come amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran. Washington has recently tightened the sanctions regime against Tehran by ending waivers for the buyers of Iranian oil. The sanctions were imposed after the US withdrew from the JCPOA, also known as Iran nuclear deal, with other signatories to the accord trying to salvage it.
Tehran, however, felt these efforts were insufficient and announced that it would be backtracking on some of its "voluntary" commitments under the JCPOA in terms of limiting its nuclear programme, citing the inability of the EU to withstand pressure from the US. Most of the remaining signatories to the deal have vowed to make every effort to preserve the deal with Russia and China blasting Washington for trying to ruin it.