(Newsroom America) -- China has been selling advanced ballistic missiles to Iran in violation of United Nations sanctions, a congressional report charged.
"China continues to provide Iran with what could be considered advanced conventional weapons," says a report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, details of which were published Thursday by the Washington Times.
The report said China sold some $312 million worth of arms to Iran, behind only Russia. The sales came after the passage of the Iran Freedom Support Act in 2006 which allows the U.S. to sanction foreign firms that provide weapons to the Islamic republic.
The report, which will be made public Nov. 16, also said that after Russia cut back arms sales to Iran in 2008, China stepped in to fill the void.
Most sales have involved sophisticated C-802 anti-ship cruise missiles which China pledged in 1997 not to sell to Iran, the paper said, noting that China last year built an entire plant in Iran to build the Nasr-1 anti-ship cruise missile.
"Because of the relatively short range of these missiles, China’s provision of them to Iran does not violate the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act of 2006, which seeks to prevent the transfer of only those missiles that can carry a 500-kilogram warhead more than 300 kilometers," said the report, according to the Times.
"It is possible, however, that these transactions violate the Iran Freedom Support Act, or the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, which both use the ambiguous term ‘advanced conventional weapons,'" it said.
The report also noted that despite a pledge not to do so, the Chinese government or Chinese firms may be continuing to support Iran's weapons of mass destruction programs.
"Despite Beijing’s stated claim to be acting as a responsible major power, China continues to place its national interests ahead of regional stability by providing economic and diplomatic support to countries that undermine international security," the report said.
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