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State Dept. sanctions Chinese, HK officials and entities for supporting Iran

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Iran nuclear weapons program

The U.S. Department of State announced Monday afternoon that it has imposed sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials and entities for supporting Iran‘s cargo shipping entity Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its subsidiary, Hafez Darya Arya Shipping Company (HDASCO). IRISL is critical to the regime’s ballistic missile, nuclear, and military programs.

The press release cites a United Nations resolution that affects IRISL in justifying these sanctions.

“A provision of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 mandates vigilance when doing business with IRISL and entities owned or controlled by IRISL under certain circumstances,” the press release says. “This provision is now in effect due to the snapback of UN sanctions.”

The sanctions are directed at six entities and two officials for conduct violating the aforementioned rule and that the State Department would carry these out in accordance with Section 1244 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act enacted in June.

The entities receiving these sanctions are Reach Holding Group (Shanghai) Company Ltd.; Reach Shipping Lines; Delight Shipping Co., Ltd.; Gracious Shipping Co. Ltd.; Noble Shipping Co. Ltd.; and Supreme Shipping Co. Ltd. The press release claims that they all “knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred to Iran significant goods or services used in connection with the shipping sector of Iran.” The latter four, according to the State Department, “each knowingly sold, supplied, or transferred a large container vessel to Iran to be used in connection with the shipping sector of Iran.”

As for the two individuals, they are the CEOs of Reach Holding Group (Shanghai), Eric Chen, and the company’s president, Daniel Y. He.

This all follows the State Department on June 8 designating IRISL and E-Sail Shipping Company Ltd., IRISL’s Shanghai-based subsidiary, “for their proliferation-related conduct” and warning that any stakeholders who continue to be involved with these entities are “at risk of sanctions.”

Additionally, according to the State Department, Reach Holding and its subsidiary, Reach Shipping, “provided services to IRISL, E-Sail, and HDASCO to help these Iranian shipping entities evade the consequences of U.S. sanctions.”

The Department echoed their stern warning to stakeholders in these companies again at the end of the press release, saying: “Today, we reiterate a warning to stakeholders worldwide:  If you do business with IRISL, you risk U.S. sanctions.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Husband of Biden’s Commerce Secretary is Top Executive at Firm Funded by Chinese Government

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Gina Raimondo
Gina Raimondo

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has a conflict of interest. She must work with her agency to combat and counter China on the world stage, all while supporting her husband’s position as a top executive for an artificial intelligence company whose major venture capital firm investor Is backed by the Chinese government.

Danhua Capital is based in California and is financially backed by the Chinese Communist Party. They are also one of the main funders of PathAI, an artificial intelligence firm that employs Raimondo’s husband, Andy Moffit. Moffit acts as the chief people officer.

The Chinese firm lists PathAI as one of its featured “biotech and health” investments on its website, although it’s unclear how much specifically Danhua Capital has invested. According to a 2018 Reuters report on the firm, Danhua Capital was established and funded as part of the Chinese government’s “penetration of Silicon Valley.”

In 2018, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) testified before Congress that Danhua Capital’s mission is to use capital to narrow the technology gap between China and the United States. The Washington Free Beacon reports that many staffers from CNAS, a liberal think tank, are now employed in the highest ranks of the Biden administration.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Raimondo’s agency was pushing back on efforts by others in the Biden administration to block Chinese technology firms from working with American companies. Commerce officials are arguing internally, according to the report, that the administration’s tougher approach to China would hurt U.S. companies.

Raimondo said on Thursday she would not urge U.S. companies to pull sponsorships from the upcoming Beijing Olympics after President Joe Biden announced a diplomatic boycott of the games over human rights abuses. “What individual companies do is entirely up to them,” Raimondo said. “We’re not going to pressure them one way or another.”

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