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UN officials are investigating claims that Iran has established a new smuggling network using companies based in Taiwan to acquire specialised equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons.


Tehran is reported to have intensified its efforts to import sophisticated technology in response to the mounting international pressure it is facing to freeze its uranium enrichment programme, which many Western governments believe is aimed at building nuclear weapons.

Recent intelligence reports have revealed that officials from Iran's Ministry of Defence have held a series of meeting with companies based in Taiwan to buy hundreds of pressure transducers, which can be used to produce weapons-grade uranium.

Iran has been desperately trying to acquire the equipment for more than a year, but has been frustrated by the refusal of European and American companies to sell it material that might be used for its nuclear programme.

Even China, which in the past has been prepared to sell it specialist technology, is proving reluctant to do business after Beijing supported a censure motion passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna last month following the revelation that Iran was building a second uranium enrichment facility at Qom.

Western intelligence officials say Iran has responded by concentrating its efforts on Taiwan, and has already managed to acquire a 100 transducers which have been secretly shipped to Tehran. The transducers were originally manufactured in Europe and then sold to a company in Taiwan, which then sold them on to Iran's defence ministry.

UN officials are now investigating whether the European companies are undertaking proper checks of end-user certificates for their equipment.

According to the intelligence reports, Iranian officials are now trying to negotiate further shipments of the highly restricted equipment from Taiwan.

Iran is banned from buying the equipment on the open market by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the international body set up to reduce nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials that can be used for building nuclear weapons.

"This is a serious loophole, as it enables Iran to acquire sophisticated equipment that can help it develop its nuclear programme," said a UN source. "Pressure needs to be applied to the companies involved to stop doing business with Tehran while it is still refusing to co-operate with the UN."

Earlier this year a Canadian of Iranian descent was arrested for trying to illegally ship a number of pressure transducers to Iran, which he had originally purchased in the US.

The Iranian government, which has consistently denied that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons, recently announced its intention to build another ten uranium enrichment plants, and to start work on enriching its uranium stockpiles to a higher level that has previously been achieved. The UN is considering imposing a new round of sanctions against Iran for its continued defiance over its nuclear programme.

但BBC好像講得不太一樣(?)主要是中國的公司,臺灣跟北韓也各有一家的樣子
網址在這
Chinese firms punished over Iran
The US has imposed sanctions on seven Chinese firms suspected of selling nuclear weapons technology to Iran.

The penalties, which will remain in place for two years, include a ban on trading with, and receiving assistance from, the US government.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman dismissed the move, saying the "wanton launch of sanctions...without real evidence is not a wise choice".

A company from Taiwan and one from North Korea are also affected.

Iran has denied US accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, insisting that its nuclear plans are for peaceful energy purposes. Two of the largest Chinese companies named by the US, China North Industry Corporation (Norinco) and China Great Wall Industry, have been repeatedly penalised for violating various export controls. Both have close ties to the Chinese army.

The firms are being punished under the 2000 Iran Non-Proliferation Act, signed into law by then President Bill Clinton.

China's oil needs

Last June, a US congressional report said China was failing to curb the proliferation of missile technology, despite promises from the Chinese government. It suggested China's growing dependence on Middle East oil was the reason for this.

The US has been putting increasing pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme and wants the United Nations Security Council to consider imposing sanctions.

Last week, inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), visited Parchin military base near Tehran, to see whether nuclear material had been tested there.

In a television interview on Monday, US President George W Bush said he would not rule out military action.

"I hope we can solve it diplomatically, but I won't ever take any option off the table," Mr Bush told NBC News.

However, the US has dismissed claims by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that US commandos have been carrying out covert operations inside Iran ahead of possible future military strikes.

Iran avoided UN sanctions in November when it agreed to suspend uranium enrichment and all related activities.

The European Union last week resumed trade talks with Iran, suspended for about 18 months.

The other Chinese firms sanctioned by the US are: Beijing Alite Technologies, China Aero-Technology Import Export Corporation (CATIC), QC Chen, Wha Cheong Tai Company and Zibo Chemet Equipment Corporation.

The Taiwanese firm is Ecoma Enterprise Company, and the North Korean firm is Paeksan Associated Corporation.

多麼有趣阿~
記得幾年前臺中港有把製造什麼東西(武器?)的原料還是什麼的賣到北韓
聯合國還是美國出來說臺灣怎樣怎樣,記者去訪問臺中港的某個人
那位大叔說的話大意是:臺灣不是聯合國會員,所以管不到我們
XD
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