Tag Archives: dual-use equipment

White Gloves War: Sanctions against Russia

Laser weapons system use glass.  Glass could be considered dual-equipment.  Pictured here  the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) aboard USS Ponce. Image from wikipedia

Since Russia annexed Crimea last year, it has become almost impossible for scientists in Russia to buy anything in the United States or Japan that has a dual purpose, said physicist Alexander Shilov, who works in the Institute of Laser Physics in Russia’s scientific hub of Akademgorodok, or Academy Town — part of Russia’s third-largest city of Novosibirsk…The U.S. and EU sanctions were designed to halt exports to the Russian defense sector. When announcing a new round of sanctions in July 2014, the European Union noted specifically that they “should not affect the exports of dual-use goods and technology” to Russia for “non-military use.” In reality, many Western companies were so spooked by the sanctions and the penalties they could face for violating them that the door was shut completely, the scientists say….

What’s more, foreign-made equipment is now less affordable for Russian scientists because of the depreciation in the Russian ruble, which lost nearly half of its value since the Crimean annexation.

The scientists’ plight has been compounded by the Kremlin’s own crackdown on Russian private funding of science, stemming from suspicions of Western influence. The government this year labeled the Dynasty foundation, Russia’s largest source of private funding for science, a “foreign agent” — which makes the group vulnerable to an array of surprise checks and audits. It is a Cold War term that carries connotations of spying. The foundation fell afoul of the officialdom because its Russian founder funds the organization from money transferred from his foreign bank accounts.  “If Dynasty was named a foreign agent, then everyone who had contracts with Dynasty is an accomplice of a foreign agent,” said Shilov. “We are all spies now.”

The government has become increasingly suspicious of foreign-funded non-governmental organizations, seeing them as potential agents of a hostile West. Russia has brushed off the sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union, saying that Russia has plenty of resources to replace banned imports with its own production.

Excerpts from  NATALIYA VASILYEVA5, Russian scientists squeezed by sanctions, Kremlin policies, Associated Press, July 20, 2015

Exports of Nuclear Parts to Iran, the tricky business of dual-use equipment

The US, which continues to put tremendous pressure on Iran to dismantle its nuclear “weapon” programme, was in for a shock recently when a California-based firm was fined by the country’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Department of Commerce  (pdf) for sales of dual-use nuclear equipment that may have actually landed in Tehran.   It is alleged Mattson Technology sold 47 pressure transducers worth $78,000 ( to customers in Israel, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Taiwan during 2006-08. Pressure transducers are dual-use equipment with nuclear applications in measuring the gas pressure inside centrifuge cascades.  The sales made to customers in China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan have particularly evoked concern because of their history as intermediaries for goods required for Iran’s sanctioned nuclear programme.  Mattson agreed to pay an $850,000 fine last month. However, $600,000 of the amount could be waived if the first installment of $250,000 is paid within 30 days of the order and the firm agrees to compliance with the terms of its probation (including not making any other illegal sales for a year).

Iran is known as an active purchaser of a large number of pressure transducers, according to a report by Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) – a renowned US-based think tank on nuclear non-proliferation.  Iran, the ISIS says, sent in 2008-2009, more than 40 requests for price quotes to German manufacturers.

US firm fined over nuclear gear ‘sale’ to Iran, India Today, May 28, 2012

According to the BIS “Abut May 2006, one of Mattson’s supply chain partners informed it that pressure transducers that Mattson [has been employing in its production process of semiconductor wafers] required export licenses when shipped to Mattson customers in certain foreign countries.”  However, Mattson continued its exports from June 7, 2006 to April 24, 2008.