India on Wednesday termed as unjustified the American decision to impose sanctions on its two firms for supplying some chemicals to Iran, asserting that the transfer did not violate Indian regulations or its international obligations.
The sanctions imposed by the US government on two Indian firms -- Sabero Organics Gujarat Limited and Sandhya Organics Limited -- under the US Iran Proliferation Act, 2000 relate to transfer of some chemicals, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters in New Delhi.
"Our preliminary assessment is that the transfer of such chemicals is not in violation of our regulations or our international obligations," he said.
Sarna said the imposition of sanctions by the US on Indian firms, "which in our view have not acted in violation of our laws or regulations, is not justified."
The spokesman emphasised that India's commitment to prevent onward proliferation is second to none.
"We have instituted a rigorous system of export controls and our track record in this regard is well known," he said, adding that India is working with international community including with the US as a partner against proliferation.
A US media report on Tuesday said that the two Indian chemical companies along with six Chinese government-run firms and an Austrian will soon be sanctioned by the Bush administration for allegedly selling missile goods and chemical arms materials to Iran.
India also welcomed the US decision to lift sanctions on retired scientist of Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) Dr C Surender, saying it vindicated its stand that the restrictions had "no justification".
India had urged the US government to review the issue and withdraw the sanctions, Sarna noted.
The MEA spokesman said India also wants that sanctions against another doctor Y S R Prasad, also a scientist with NPC, should be removed.
US had imposed sanctions against Surender and Prasad in September last year on charges of helping Iran. Both the scientists have denied the allegations.
Sanctions based on 'credible evidence': US
The United States on Wednesday said the sanctions against two Indian firms, for allegedly selling missile goods and chemical arms material to Iran, were based on 'credible evidence.'
State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said the sanctions were imposed on Indian companies, besides five from China and one from Austria, based on 'credible evidence,' but did not elaborate.
The new sanctions against the nine firms were taken under the Iran Non Proliferation Act of 2000 that was passed to deter any support to Iran's nuclear, chemical and biological programmes.
"It is an important and effective tool in constraining Iran's efforts to develop missile and weapons of mass destruction capabilities," Ereli said. "It does have an impact, particularly in alerting governments to activity taking place in their countries."
The six Chinese firms are all said to be government entities and the two Indian firms identified are Sabero Organics Chemical and Sandhya Organics Preventing proliferation of dangerous technology is difficult "and there are always going to be those who put narrow commercial self-interest above greater social good or public welfare," the State Department spokesman said
In addition to the sanctions, the Bush Administration had decided to lift restrictions imposed on one of the two Indian scientists linked to Iran's nuclear programme will be lifted, The Washington Times had reported.
Restrictions imposed on Chaudhary Surendar will be lifted but those against another scientist YSR Prasad will remain until September 2006.