U.S. sanctions 30 firms, individuals for aiding Iran, North Korea

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The U.S. has imposed sanctions on 30 foreign companies or individuals for transferring sensitive technology to Iran for its missile programme or for violating export controls on Iran, North Korea and Syria.

The State Department said on Friday that 11 companies or individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates were sanctioned for technology transfers that could boost Tehran’s ballistic missile programme.

The department said in a statement that 19 entities or individuals were sanctioned for other violations under the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act, it said.

They are believed to have transferred or acquired sensitive technology that could contribute to development of weapons of mass destruction.

On Thursday, Chinese telecoms giant ZTE, pleaded guilty in a US court to violating US export controls by selling goods to Iran and North Korea over several years.

The move is the final step in the case’s resolution which the US government announced on March 7 in which it slapped 1.2 billion dollars in fines on the company, the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history in an export control case, although there have been larger fines involving financial firms.

ZTE pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully export, obstruction of justice and making a false statement, the US justice department said on Saturday.

The company will immediately pay 892 million dollars, while another 300 million dollars in penalties are suspended for seven years.

From January 2010 to March 2016, the company shipped 32 million dollars in US cellular network equipment to Iran, and made 283 shipments of cell phones to North Korea, with the full knowledge of the highest levels of company management, officials said.

The five-year US government investigation into ZTE’s actions violating restrictions on exports to sanctioned countries was first revealed in March 2016.

Export privileges for ZTE—China’s largest publicly traded telecom company, and the fourth largest in the world—are subject to denial for seven years if any aspect of this deal is not met.

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