City of Brass

City of Brass


doing business with Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The seizure of mosques and a skyscraper yesterday was ostensibly because the rental income from the skyscraper was being sent to a bank in Iran which is allegedly used by the Iranian government to fund its covert (and denied) nuclear program. This is illegal by federal law, but it’s interesting to see a double standard at work with respect to other US companies that run afoul of that law:

(19 July 2004) The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has been investigating Halliburton since 2001 to determine whether it violated the ban on U.S. companies doing business with Iran. The OFAC referred the case to the Justice Department in early July 2004, prompting the subpoena from the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. The subpoena requests Halliburton provide company documents pertaining to its business relationship with Iran.

Although federal law prohibits U.S. companies from trading with Iran, it does not forbid foreign subsidiaries from such business ties. Halliburton’s Cayman Islands subsidiary sold $63 million worth of oil products to Iran in 2003. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate tried to pass legislation prohibiting foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms from trading with Iran, but the legislation was defeated, mostly along party lines.

As far as I recall, none of Haliburton’s assets were seized by the Bush Administration back then.

I’m arguing here that we need more information to justify these actions. They may well be justified, but we must have transparency here or Obama’s relationship with the muslim American community just died.



  • http://www.zackvision.com/weblog/ Zack

    While it is legalistic, the simple difference between Halliburton and Alavi Foundation seems to be that Halliburton used a foreign subsidiary and Alavi’s front company seems to be US-based.

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