News & Analysis

US imposes sanctions on Armenian and Georgian companies for Iran links

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the US Department of Commerce has imposed sanctions on two Armenian firms and a Georgian company for illegally exporting sensitive items to Iran, the Armenian and Georgian media have reported.

The companies, Yerevan Telecommunications Research Institute (YETRI), Markel, and Georgia Petrochemical and Aviatech join fourteen others from various countries on a list of firms who will now be banned from purchasing US products.

Georgia Petrochemical and Aviatech was sanctioned over unlawfully attempting “to procure and divert export-controlled aluminium tubing via Malaysia to Iran.”

The BIS decided to add Markel and YETRI to the sanctions entity list because the two companies obtained “items that were reexported without the required BIS licenses, and the person who is both executive director of YETRI and the president of Markel has been engaged in a business relationship with a sanctioned Iranian organisation,” it said in a statement.

Mher Markosyan, YETRI’s executive director and Markel’s president said that the US sanctions were based on unfounded claims. “As for Markel, it signed contracts and did business with Iranian enterprises until 2009,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Any export operation, especially to Iran, is examined under the microscope,” he added, noting that “if there is even a slight suspicion [of wrongdoing] rest assured that the [Armenian] state will not permit it.”

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