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US Places Financial Restrictions on Syrian Institutions for Weapons Proliferation

The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed financial restrictions on three Syrian institutions suspected of proliferating weapons of mass destruction.

In a statement Thursday, the Treasury Department said the three Syrian entities are The Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology, The Electronics Institute and the National Standards and Calibration Laboratory. The three institutions have been targeted because of their affiliation with a previously designated Syrian group, The Scientific Studies and Research Center.

A treasury official, Stuart Levey, said Syria is using official government organizations to develop unconventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them.

Designating the Syrian entities under an executive order signed by President Bush in 2005 gives the Treasury Department the power to freeze any bank accounts or financial assets belonging to them in the United States.

The Treasury Department has designated 21 entities and one individual under the same executive order.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.