WASHINGTON (RFE/RL) – The United States imposed sanctions on two Armenian companies on Wednesday, August 15, saying that they have acted against U.S. national interests.
The Yerevan Telecommunications Research Institute (YETRI) and the Markel company are among 17 Canadian, Russian, Georgian and other firms blacklisted by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. They will now be banned from purchasing U.S. products.
“These seventeen entities have been determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States,” the BIS said in a statement.
The agency explained that YETRI has been sanctioned because it had obtained unspecified sensitive items and re-exported them without BIS licenses. “And the person who is both Executive Director of YETRI and President of Markel has been engaged in a business relationship with a sanctioned Iranian organization,” its statement added without elaborating.
That person, Mher Markosian, described the sanctions as unfair and unfounded. He insisted that YETRI has never sold any equipment to Iranian firms.
“As for Markel, it had signed contracts and done business with Iranian enterprises until 2009,” Markosian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “It hasn’t signed any further contracts since 2009.”