Wikileaks: Malaysian firm tried to buy China missile parts

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — A Malaysian company with links to Iran tried to buy gyroscopes used for guiding missiles from China, according to a leaked United States diplomatic cable.

According to the cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks, the US Department of State asked China in December 2009 to block the sale of TRS-500 gyroscopes from China firm VibTel Industrial to Electronics Component Limited (ECL).

The cable, which was published today on news portal Malaysia Today, said that the US embassy in Beijing was ordered to share information with Chinese officials to assist “your ability to prevent the transfer of these gyroscopes by VibTel Industrial Co. to ECL.”

“ECL is associated with a network of Iranian-controlled front companies that procure sensitive goods on behalf of a number of Iranian entities of proliferation concern,” said the document classified by the US State Department’s director of missile threat reduction Pam Durham.

According to the cable, China had agreed to look into the matter but asked for additional information on ECL’s relationship to Iranian firms.

The US said that ECL was linked to Iranian firms “Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG), which is Iran’s primary developer of liquid propellant ballistic missiles, and Heavy Metal Industries, a front company for the tactical missile developer Ya Mahdi Industries.”

“Both SHIG and Ya Mahdi Industries are sanctioned under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1737,” the cable said, adding that the gyroscopes, used in ballistic and cruise missiles as well as unmanned aircraft, are prohibited for export to Iran under the same resolution.

It also said that ECL had links with another Malaysia-based front company Skylife Worldwide Sdn Bhd.

It is the second time in recent years that a Malaysian company has been linked to Iran’s nuclear and missile ambitions.

Seven years ago the US named a unit of the Scomi group controlled by Datuk Kamaluddin Abdullah Ahmad, son of then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as having shipped components for enriching uranium to Iran.

Sri Lankan businessman Buhary Seyed Abu Tahir was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly deceiving Scomi Precision Engineering Sdn Bhd (Scope) into manufacturing a component believed to be for nuclear weapons.

However, Tahir, who is a permanent resident of Malaysia, was released in 2008 subject to conditions which were reported to have been lifted a year later.


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