AFP: A Taiwanese firm allegedly sold equipment that can be used to make nuclear weapons to Iran under a request from China, a Taipei-based magazine said. TAIPEI (AFP) — A Taiwanese firm allegedly sold equipment that can be used to make nuclear weapons to Iran under a request from China, a Taipei-based magazine said.
The firm received an online order from China last year to buy pressure transducers on behalf of an Iranian oil company for pipeline construction, Next Magazine reported this week.
The firm later shipped 108 pressure transducers it had acquired from a Swiss firm to Iran as exporting the items was not illegal in Switzerland or Taiwan, the report said, citing a Taiwanese trade official.
China, despite claiming its unwillingness to provide Iran with sensitive technology, has "secretly shipped critical components" to the country through Taiwanese firms, the report quoted an unnamed source as saying.
The magazine did not identify any of the companies allegedly involved.
The deal raised concerns in the US, which urged the Taiwanese government to eradicate the "smuggling network" in order not to violate international sanctions against Iran, it said.
Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade has said the device is not restricted but has nevertheless placed the company on a watch list.
Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper said last month Iran's defence officials met Taiwanese firms to buy hundreds of pressure transducers that can be used to make weapons-grade uranium.
The paper said Iran had tried unsuccessfully to buy the equipment for more than a year from European and American firms before turning to a Taiwanese company.
UN officials are investigating whether the European companies conducted proper checks of end-user certificates for the equipment, it said.
The international community has warned Iran to stop construction of its second uranium enrichment plant, wary that it is trying to develop a nuclear bomb.
Iran rejects the charge and says it wants to build a civil energy programme.