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Do as I Say, Not as I Pay

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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