By Ruzanna Khachatrian
Armenian leaders claimed on Wednesday that they still do not know which Armenian companies have been subjected to U.S. sanctions for allegedly selling components for weapons of mass destruction to Iran.
“We still don’t know what those companies are; they have not yet officially informed us,” Prime Minister Andranik Markarian said, referring to the U.S. State Department’s announcement last Friday that Washington is imposing sanctions on 14 unnamed Chinese, Armenian and Moldovan firms.
Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian likewise told RFE/RL that Washington has yet to disclose their names to the government in Yerevan. “We will thoroughly look into the issue once we get that information,” he said. “We too are against the worldwide spread of weapons of mass destruction.”
Announcing the sanctions, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the names of the entities in question as well as the nature of their activities will soon appear in the Federal Register, the official journal of the U.S. government.
The Armenian foreign ministry said shortly after the announcement of the sanctions that it has started “an active dialogue” with the State Department to try to “find solutions to the resulting problems.” It emphasized Boucher’s remark that the governments of Armenia and Moldova have been “very helpful” in U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and will not be affected by the sanctions.
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said over the weekend that only one Armenian company will likely face the two-year penalties. He did not name it.
The companies to be listed in the Federal Register will be barred from receiving U.S. government assistance, selling their products to the United States and purchasing American defense items.