WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Monday hailed a Commerce Department decision to suspend the export privileges of a British company that had illegally shipped three U.S.-made aircraft to Iran and was preparing to send it three more.
“There is no doubt that the Iranian government is a patron of terrorism and a weapons proliferator. We must continue to do everything we can to cut off their supply of goods and sensitive technology,” Sen. Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a statement.
He lauded work on the case by U.S. and British authorities. But he said other countries are “still are not doing enough to prevent critical goods from being shipped to Iran.”
The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Friday issued a temporary order suspending for 180 days the export privileges of Balli Group in Britain, Blue Airways based in Armenia and Mahan Airways in Iran.
It cited evidence that the parties knowingly violated U.S. federal export laws and made false statement about the ultimate destination and user of the aircraft.
The agency said it ordered Balli to send the three aircraft back to the United States. But the company has not complied and said it will not cooperate.
Dodd’s committee, which oversees foreign sanctions legislation and controls on U.S. exports that can be used for commercial and military purposes, held a hearing on U.S. policies toward Iran last year.
At the hearing, Dodd urged the Commerce Department to be tougher in its enforcement of export controls to stop the flow of goods and sensitive technology to Iran.
Iran’s refusal to curb its nuclear program that it insists is peaceful prompted the U.N. Security Council to impose a third set of sanction against Iran this month. The U.S. Congress first passed its Iran Sanctions Act in 1996.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Xavier Briand