In July of 2010, two dozen members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus led by Michele Bachmann co-sponsored a resolution announcing support for Israel "to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force." So, Tea Partiers must have been shocked - shocked! - to learn that Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers underwriting their "movement," were also in business with Iran. As it turns out, the Kochs are merely following Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney among the Republican luminaries caught up in dirty deals with Tehran.
Twenty four years after Ronald Reagan sent a Bible, a cake and U.S. weapons to the mullahs in Tehran, Bloomberg News reported that, in the words of a former employee, the Koch brothers in likely violation of the American sanctions used "every single chance they had to do business with Iran, or anyone else."
A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries -- in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East -- has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism...
Internal company records show that Koch Industries used its foreign subsidiary to sidestep a U.S. trade ban barring American companies from selling materials to Iran. Koch-Glitsch offices in Germany and Italy continued selling to Iran until as recently as 2007, the records show.
The company's products helped build a methanol plant for Zagros Petrochemical Co., a unit of Iran's state-owned National Iranian Petrochemical Co., the documents show. The facility, in the coastal city of Bandar Assaluyeh, is now the largest methanol plant in the world, according to IHS Inc., an Englewood, Colorado-based provider of chemicals, energy and economic data.
In response to the allegations, Koch spokesperson Melissa Cohlmia said, "During the relevant time frame covered in your article, U.S. law allowed foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational companies to engage in trade involving countries subject to U.S. trade sanctions, including Iran, under certain conditions," adding that Koch has since stopped all of its units from trading with Iran.
If this story sounds familiar, it should. Just change the company to Halliburton and the CEO's name to Dick Cheney.
As the New York Times explained in March 2010, even as the Obama administration was seeking tougher UN sanctions to press Tehran into curbing its nuclear program, "of the 74 companies The Times identified as doing business with both the United States government and Iran, 49 continue to do business there with no announced plans to leave."
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.
Among the U.S. contractors also profiting from Iran was Halliburton, which pocketed $27.1 billion from American taxpayers between 2000 and 2009:
Halliburton, former Vice President Cheney's old company, provided oil and gas drilling services to Iran through foreign subsidies. After a political furor erupted over the work, the company announced it would do no new business in Iran, and it exited the country altogether in 2007. While still operating in Iran, Halliburton won huge contacts from the federal government, including a no-bid contract to restore Iraq's oil sector, as did its subsidiary at the time, Kellogg Brown & Root.
As Perrspectives detailed four years ago, Halliburton had side-stepped the U.S. sanctions regime in place against Iran since the 1990's by using a Cayman Islands subsidiary. And what should come as a surprise to no one, CEO Dick Cheney opposed those very sanctions until, of course, he became George W. Bush's Vice President.