Billions in US public money 'spent in Iran'

Details emerge of billions awarded by the US to firms dealing with Tehran

The US taxpayer has given more than $107bn (£71bn)during the past decade to companies which are also doing business with Iran, it was revealed yesterday. That sum includes at least $15bn (£9.9bn) of US Government funds that were channelled to corporations which have defied international sanctions to help Iran develop its vast and strategically important oil and gas reserves.

News of the payments comes as Washington seeks to coax Russia and China into supporting tough new measures against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime as punishment for its nuclear programme.

Draft UN proposals, which are supported by the UK, would impose a full arms embargo and heighten restrictions against Iranian banks and businesses. Passing the proposed sanctions at the UN's Security Council this month was already set to be an uphill struggle, even before yesterday's New York Times revealed the extent of Washington's investment in companies dealing with Iran.

The US Government's ban on dealing with Iran does not cover their foreign subsidiaries. Neither does it prevent Washington from giving taxpayers' money to overseas corporations which may also deal with Iran.

In fact, when it has suited, both George Bush's and Barack Obama's administrations have been happy to cut deals with firms that break both the spirit, and occasionally the letter of the sanctions laws against Iran.

A New York Times analysis of federal records and company reports reveals that 74 companies have done business with both the US Government and Iran since 2000. And despite heightened recent tensions, 49 of them continue to do business there with no announced plans to leave.

Two-thirds of the US taxpayer money handed out in that period went to firms dealing in Iran's energy sector, a major source of revenue for both the Ahmadinejad regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which oversees the country's nuclear and missile programmes.

Many US Government contracts, totalling at least $102bn (£67bn), went to firms such as the South Korean energy giant Daelim Industrial, which in 2009 won a $111m (£73m) deal to build housing at a US military base near Seoul, shortly after also winning a $700m (£463m) contract to upgrade an Iranian oil refinery.

Royal Dutch Shell, one of seven firms that has challenged the Iran Sanctions Act, is another major beneficiary of those contracts. None of the 74 companies is accused of breaking any laws.

But their dealings highlight the difficulties in reconciling America's commitment to oiling the wheels of global capitalism with its myriad diplomatic goals.

In 2004, controversy erupted over news that Halliburton, the Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, had used a Cayman Islands subsidiary to sell oil-field services to Iran.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there