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Ear to the Ground

Do as I Say, Not as I Pay

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Posted on Mar 6, 2010
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Despite the fact that Washington has forcefully discouraged investment in Iran for the past decade, the federal government has given more than $107 billion in contract payments to companies that dealt with Iran or are doing business there.

A New York Times analysis of federal records and other financial documents shows a cacophony of mixed messages to the corporate world, with Washington rewarding companies whose transactions conflict with U.S. foreign policy. —JCL

The New York Times:

The federal government has awarded more than $107 billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits over the past decade to foreign and multinational American companies while they were doing business in Iran, despite Washington’s efforts to discourage investment there, records show.

That includes nearly $15 billion paid to companies that defied American sanctions law by making large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserves.

For years, the United States has been pressing other nations to join its efforts to squeeze the Iranian economy, in hopes of reining in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Now, with the nuclear standoff hardening and Iran rebuffing American diplomatic outreach, the Obama administration is trying to win a tough new round of United Nations sanctions.

But a New York Times analysis of federal records, company reports and other documents shows that both the Obama and Bush administrations have sent mixed messages to the corporate world when it comes to doing business in Iran, rewarding companies whose commercial interests conflict with American security goals.

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By Nap, March 7, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, cutting off one’s nose in spite of one’s face is not cheap, specially if you where to factor in all the business and respect lost, 107 billion seems a bit pressed and pressured.

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, March 7, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

The Future of Freedom Foundation has an article entitled “U.S. Government Confirms Sanctions Don’t Work”:

http://www.fff.org/blog/jghblog2010-03-05.asp

Since many of the companies mentioned in the Times article are in fact American, one is also reminded of the old couplet from Sir John Harrington:

“Treason doth never prosper; what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

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By gerard, March 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

PS:  However, I suspect things are stirring here and there.  Things are just getting too crazy even for capitalists. Somehor I can’t imagine them being happy sailing their yachts through a fog of hot fallout.

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By gerard, March 6, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

The interlocking of more or less disparate business organizations and national governments is rapidly leading to a morass of confusion with few or no ethical guidelines. I wonder how much longer we can go without some common agreement on basic principles of restraint and compassion.  Many people think that capitalistic enterprises care nothing about ethics etc., but it would seem that the pressure to preserve life on earth would push in the direction of a basic agreement. The UN would be a place to begin.  Does anyone know of any such activities?
I found one reference to a “UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2010.” But no details beyond intentions.

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