Industry News: Volume 7, Number 1


Iran looking to upgrade weapon systems

Faced with the arms embargo enforced by the West, China may be Iran’s last hope in upgrading its obsolete weapons systems, according to the Moscow-based Voice of Russia.

Visiting Beijing, Habibollah Sayyari, head of the Iranian navy, told Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan on October 23 that Iran is looking to increase naval cooperation with China. Sayyari said he was happy to see Iranian and Chinese warships visit one another from March 2013. Chang also said that the People’s Liberation Army of China and the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are working together in training military personnel.

Chang and Sayyari also mentioned the visit of Hossein Dehghan, Iran’s defense minister to China in May. Like Dehghan, Sayyari said that it is crucial for China to cooperate with Iran in eliminating terrorists and extremists in Central Asia. The Voice of Russia pointed out Iran is not a small nation but a major players in the region and that China and Iran share a similar attitude toward the threat posed by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

S. Sudanese rebels asked Beijing not to sell weapons to Juba

The opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) led by former vice-president, Riek Machar asked the Chinese government to stop selling weapons to President Salva Kiir’s government.

“During the visit to Beijing on 21st September, Chairman of External Relations Committee, Dr. Dhieu Mathok Diing, asked the Chinese government to stop selling weapons to the regime in Juba,” said Machar’s spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak.“The Chinese ministry of Foreign Affairs responded positively in which they informed our delegation that they already instructed their institutions to stop selling and delivery of military equipment to Juba,” Dak added, saying that the rebel group was told the message had already been passed to Juba during the visit to Beijing by foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjiman.

In June China sold weapons worth $38 million, a consignment of which was delivered to South Sudan through the Kenyan coastal port of Mombassa.

Machar’s opposition group at the time criticized the Chinese government for what they said was a double standard in which it fuelled the war through sale of weapons to Juba while at the same time expressed to play role of supporting the peace process and peace keeping.

China is currently the biggest oil dealer in South Sudan.

Texas Man Charged with Smuggling for Forwarding One Email

A criminal indictment was filed against Patrick Jean Zuber, a U.S permanent resident, charging him with conspiracy to violate the anti-smuggling statute, 18 U.S.C. § 554. Allegedly, Zuber did nothing more than push the forward button to send an email from a company in Thailand seeking to purchase equipment for an oil project in Iran. Zuber is not being charged with sending any equipment to Iran; he is being charged with sending an email forwarding that inquiry from the potential customer in Thailand. The mere act of clicking “forward” was deemed to be facilitation of an illegal export to Iran. The criminal information report is silent as to whether any export actually occurred.

Section 560.205 of OFAC’s regulations does prohibit a U.S. person from facilitating a transaction by a foreign person that would be illegal if done by a U.S. person. If the transaction went forward, OFAC would clearly have the authority to fine Mr. Zuber for pushing the forward button. Nevertheless, showing criminal intent by Zuber, who may well have thought that Canada could legally fulfill the order he forwarded, is going to be extremely difficult.

United States eases restriction on the export of arms to Vietnam.

The United States partially lifted a long-time ban on lethal weapon sales to Vietnam to help it improve maritime security, a historic move that comes nearly 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War. “The State Department has taken steps to allow for the future transfer of maritime security-related defense articles to Vietnam,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a briefing.
State Department officials told a separate briefing that the decision would ease a ban on sales of lethal weapons to Vietnam that has been in place since the end of the Vietnam War, although only for maritime security purposes at this point. Requests from Vietnam for any specific weapons would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The focus would be on helping Vietnam patrol and defend itself in the South China Sea, amid growing naval challenges from China, the officials said, but future weapons sales could include airborne systems as well as ships.