The United States has imposed sanctions on three Chinese companies and one Chinese individual for transferring equipment or technology that could make material contributions to the development of weapons of mass destruction or missile programmes, primarily in Iran.
Businessman Karl Lee, Dalian Sunny Industries, Dalian Zhongbang Chemical Industries and Xian Junyun Electronic are among 16 firms and individuals found to have flouted America's Iran, North Korea, Syria Non-proliferation Act, in their trade with Iran.
The sanctions, part of Washington's efforts to curb weapons proliferation, ban US government agencies or institutes from buying goods, services or technology from the firms or individuals for two years, and bar them from receiving support from the US government. Blacklisted firms will not be able to purchase any products listed on the US Munitions List or by the Arms Export Control Act.
Dalian Sunny Industries, which makes titanium materials for aerospace applications, was hit with sanctions for a similar reason two years ago; Dalian Zhongbang Chemical Industries makes fluorescent powder.
The US also imposed sanctions on 11 firms and one individual from Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela for providing restricted items that may be used for weapons of mass destruction or missiles.
Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said most of the 16 had been targeted for 'proliferation activity' involving Iran.