US has billions of dollars-business with sanctioned Iran

US defended its issuance of special licenses for American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran despite sanctions.

 US has billions of dollars-business with sanctioned Iran

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday defended its issuance of special licenses for American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other blacklisted nations, in response to a New York Times report on deals made despite sanctions and trade embargoes.

An examination by the newspaper found the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control has made nearly 10,000 exceptions to U.S. sanctions rules over the past decade.

Companies such as Kraft Food, Pepsi and some of the largest US banks benefited from the special Treasury permits.

A Treasury official said the majority of the cases examined by The Times were approved under a law requiring the Treasury to license exports of agricultural and medical humanitarian aid to Iran and Sudan.

"These are not discretionary exceptions to U.S. sanctions made by Treasury," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The newspaper said one American company was allowed to bid on a pipeline job to help Iran sell natural gas to Europe even though the US opposes such deals.

The Times said the 10-year-old law was so broadly written that allowable humanitarian aid has included cigarettes, chewing gum, weight-loss remedies, Louisiana hot sauce and sports rehabilitation equipment sold to the institute that trains Iran's Olympic athletes.

The U.S. government has long banned American companies from investing in Iran's energy sector. After the United Nations imposed tougher energy and financial sanctions against Iran to curb its nuclear development program over the summer, similar bans have been imposed by Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Treasury officials have said the tougher sanctions -- which have effectively forced many financial services firms to choose between doing business with Iran or with the United States -- has imposed financial hardship on Iran's government.

The Treasury official said that in most of the decisions to allow U.S. firms to do business in a sanctioned country, the licenses were approved to allow them to wind down operations, extricate themselves from existing contracts or export educational material.


Agencies

Last Mod: 24 Aralık 2010, 14:13
Add Comment