WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Department of State formally announced the imposition of sanctions under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 against two Indian entities for the transfer of WMD equipment and technology to Iran.  According to the Department of State public notice, the sanctions determination was made on July 25, 2006, the day before a historic House vote changing long-standing U.S. nonproliferation laws to allow nuclear trade with India.  The sanctions report had been due to Congress long before the vote took place, but was not delivered until afterwards.

Representative Edward J. Markey  (D-MA), the Co-Chairman of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation said today  in reaction to the belated release of the sanctions listing, “I am appalled that the Bush administration, which must have known for weeks if not months that it was going to sanction these two Indian companies, withheld this information from Congress until after the House voted to grant India a special exemption from U.S. nuclear nonproliferation law on India’s behalf.  The plain fact of the matter is that the proliferant behavior of these and other Indian companies indicates that India is not successfully guarding its most dangerous technologies.

“This continues the Bush administration’s long practice of withholding vital information from Congress, information that could drastically affect Congress’s views were it known.”

Rep. Markey organized a July 24, 2006 letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, signed by Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-MA).  The lawmaker's letter called for the release of the sanctions report before the House voted on President Bush’s proposal for nuclear trade with India. 

On July 26, 2006, Rep. Markey offered an amendment on the floor of the House which would have required the President to certify that India was fully cooperating with U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring WMD before nuclear trade could commence.  That amendment lost by a vote of 192-235, and the India nuclear deal legislation was then approved by a vote of 359-68.

On July 28, 2006, following press reports confirming that two Indian entities were to be sanctioned for providing WMD-related technologies to Iran, Rep. Markey joined Reps. Ellen Tauscher and Barbara Lee in sending a letter to the State Department Inspector General demanding an investigation into whether the State Department had knowingly withheld this vital sanctions package from Congress until after the India vote.

Rep. Markey concluded, "The belated release of this information only confirms my belief that we need to enact a binding condition on any U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement requiring the President to certify that India is fully and actively cooperating with U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to manufacture and deliver them.  As the world watches Hezbollah terrorists fire Iranian-supplied rockets into Israel, we need to take tougher action to halt the flow of sensitive technologies to Iran, and Indian companies have clearly been a major supplier of WMD-related materials and technologies to Tehran."

August 4, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein