WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Washington should penalize Chinese companies that are doing business in the Iranian energy sector, U.S. lawmakers urged.
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained Chinese energy companies are aiding Iran in its nuclear program by dealing in its energy sector.
The United States and European Union in July passed sanctions on Iran that target foreign entities doing business in certain aspects of the Iranian energy sector. Their unilateral moves followed a decision by the U.N. Security Council to enact new sanctions that punish Iran for its controversial nuclear program.
The bipartisan letter said Chinese companies are supplying Iran with refined petroleum products since the U.S. sanctions were signed into law in July.
Schumer and Kyl said the China National Petroleum Co. and its subsidiaries have shipped gasoline to Iran and signed agreements to "invest billions (of dollars)" in the Iranian energy sector.
Last year, they said, CNPC said it would invest around $2 billion to help Iran develop the South Azadegan oil fields.
The lawmakers said the Chinese activity "clear violates" Iranian sanctions. This, they said, requires Washington to penalize CNPC and others because they are helping Iran evade international pressure.
"You have often stated that an Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable," the letter states. "We agree, yet we see that the window to stop the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons capability through sanctions is rapidly closing."