Hours after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to sell nuclear technology to India and rejected a move by critics to delay the vote over concerns that India had not sufficiently aided U.S. efforts to contain Iran, the Bush administration imposes sanctions on two Indian firms for transfers to Iran:
Under terms of the U.S. Iran-Syria Non-proliferation Act, "we are going to report to Congress about transactions by two private Indian companies with Iran," one official said.
He and another official declined to identify the firms but one official said the transfers involve "dual-use items related to missiles."
While the administration is mandated by law to report violations of the act to Congress every six months, sanctions are discretionary but "they won't be waived" in these cases, the other official said.
The officials did not specify the exact sanctions to be imposed but in previous cases, sanctioned companies were barred from receiving U.S. government contracts, assistance or military trade as well as certain controlled goods which have both civilian and military purposes.
Congressional critics had accused the administration of withholding any conclusive word on possible sanctions until after the vote on the nuclear deal, so the issue would not affect the vote.
The nuclear agreement is viewed as the cornerstone of an evolving new strategic alliance between India and the United States, former Cold War adversaries.
The administration has repeatedly defended India as having an excellent record of protecting sensitive technology.
According to lawmakers, the United States since 2003 has filed at least eight non-proliferation sanctions against at least seven Indian companies or persons, including two sanctions in December 2005. The new sanctions would add to that tally.
Why do we allow Bush and his administration to be characterized as trustworthy?
When Democrats are brought on to news programs to rebut Republicans' positions (or journalists to discuss Bush's policies), and it's suggested that Bush's word and motives are honest ("so let's get that off the table"), they all nod in agreement and move on!
It's no wonder that the American people haven't taken to the streets to march on Washington with torches - they are confused by the message that they see and hear from those Democrats and mainstream press corps on the front lines.
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Filed under: Bush, India, sanctions, nuclear, Iran