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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 January 2007, 12:27 GMT
Russia attacks US on defence ban
Mig 29
Rosoboronexport sells everything from Mig jets to warships
Russia has accused the US of illegally imposing sanctions against four Russian defence firms that Washington says are selling banned items to Iran and Syria.

The Russian foreign ministry said the US was wrongly trying to force foreign firms to abide by domestic American rules that only apply to US firms.

Moscow's comments come after the US said it was enforcing sanctions against 24 overseas defence companies in total.

The US says the firms break its Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act.

This bans companies from providing the two countries with materials that could contribute to the development of weapons of mass destruction, or cruise or ballistic missile systems.

'Politicised actions'

The four Russian firms to be hit by the US's latest sanctions include state-owned Rosoboronexport, Russia's largest arms exporter.

"This is not the first time the US resorts to illegal attempts to spread its internal legislation on foreign companies and force them to abide by the US rules," said Russia's foreign ministry in a statement.

Other companies hit by the latest US sanctions include some from China, Iraq, Malaysia, Mexico, North Korea and Sudan.

The sanctions came into force on 28 December, 2006, and are due to remain in place for two years.

They prevent US firms from working with the named companies.

The US last hit Russian firms, including Rosoboronexport, with sanctions because of their dealings with Iran in August.

Moscow said the latest US move was once more groundless.

"And yet once again, the United States is embarking on this vicious circle," said the Russian foreign ministry.

"As a result of its politicised actions, the American state also denies itself and US firms the right to co-operate with our advanced companies.

"In business language, this is called lost opportunities."

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