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U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Top Russian Arms Exporter

Russia's Sergei Lavrov called the sanctions "unacceptable."
The United States has imposed sanctions on companies from China, Russia, and Venezuela for allegedly selling weapons or sensitive technology to Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboroneksport was among the 13 firms named by the U.S. State Department, sparking an angry response from Moscow.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the U.S. move "unacceptable," adding that Russia would take them "into consideration in our practical affairs, in our relations with the U.S., in trade-economic [spheres]," and in other areas.

"The new sanctions were imposed without any international legal grounds. They were introduced on the principles of extraterritorial application of U.S. laws and U.S. rules," Lavrov said. "We will seek an end to such a practice. It is absolutely incompatible with the new realities."

Lavrov also said the sanctions would not be helpful in securing Russian cooperation in resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Washington badly needs help from Russia, which has a veto on the UN Security Council, in curtailing the program the United States believes is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Rosoboroneksport spokesman Vyacheslav Davydenko as saying the measures were "unfair competition."

The United States also imposed sanctions on several Chinese firms, including China Xinshidai Company, China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Corporation, and Huazhong CNC, as well as the Venezuelan Military Industries Company.

Firms from Iran, North Korea, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates were also targeted by sanctions.

According to a U.S. State Department document announcing the measures, they are being imposed on companies and organizations who transferred goods or technology to Iran or North Korea that could help those countries develop weapons of mass destruction or missile systems.

Under the sanctions, which went into effect on October 23 and usually last for two years, no U.S. government agency may enter into any agreement with the organizations.

Syria and Iran are on a U.S. list of countries deemed official sponsors of terrorism.

compiled from agency reports