(Reuters) – A Chinese businessman indicted in the United States over sales of missile parts to Iran is still making millions of dollars from the trade, say security officials who monitor compliance with Western and U.N. sanctions.
These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the businessman, Li Fangwei, has earned at least $10 million from illegal sales to Iran since his indictment by the New York County District Attorney in 2009.
Trade sanctions are at the heart of international efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program for fear it is for military ends – a suspicion Iran rejects. Li’s alleged activities may point to Iran’s resourcefulness in circumventing those sanctions and turn a spotlight on China’s ability to police its own export restrictions.
It is hard to quantify the contribution of foreign firms and individuals to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, but analysts believe some vital components are all but impossible for Tehran to produce at home.