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AIPAC Gives Koch A Pass For Flouting Iran Sanctions
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Koch Industries had been flouting U.S. sanctions with Iran when the company sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to the Islamic Republic over several years. But the powerful pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC — which has for years been one of the most vocal proponents of tougher sanctions on Iran — has given the conservative mega-corporation a pass for dealing with the country.
As Politico’s Ben Smith reports, in a memo AIPAC sent to members of Congress with suggested questions for Obama administration officials, the Israel lobby suggests it is uninterested in holding Koch accountable (the memo presents questions lawmakers could use, so “I” represents the congressman):
Last week, the Bloomberg Markets Magazine ran a story titled, “Koch Brothers Flout Law Getting Richer With Secret Iran Sales.” The article alleges that a foreign subsidiary of the U.S.company, Koch Industries Inc., sold petrochemical equipment to Iran. My concern today is not with the Koch Brothers. That company did the right thing in 2007 and voluntarily ended all of its subsidiary’s business in Iran. However, I am concerned that other American companies continue to use foreign subsidiaries to profit from sales to Iran, and it is completely legal. [...]
Do you know which American companies have foreign subsidiaries conducting business with Iran that would be illegal for their parent companies to do? Do you do anything to discourage this practice?
“Every single chance they had to do business with Iran, or anyone else, they did,” said George Bentu, a former employee of Koch-Glitsch, a German Koch subsidiary which did much of the company’s business with Iran. The company “took elaborate steps” to sidestep the sanctions, Bloomberg reported.
But apparently to AIPAC, Koch is off the hook because they stopped trading with terror-sponsor Iran in 2007. This seems a little disingenuous, since U.S. companies have been banned from trading with Iran since 1995. One would think AIPAC would condemn any company that did business with Iran, especially after elements of the country’s government have been tied to a potential assassination plot against Israeli and Saudi officials, instead of going out of their way to defend them.