Companies Distancing Themselves From Trump Administration Still Doing Business With Iranian Regime

Accusations of hypocrisy as U.S. companies move away from Trump, pursue ties with Iran

An anti-fascist counter-protester hurls a newspaper box toward white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the 'alt-right' during the 'Unite the Right' rally
An anti-fascist counter-protester hurls a newspaper box during the 'Unite the Right' rally / Getty Images
• August 24, 2017 3:05 pm


Several prominent U.S. companies that have distanced themselves from the Trump administration over its response to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., continue to do business with the extremist Iranian regime, sparking accusations of hypocrisy from a leading advocacy group that works to expose Iran's global atrocities.

Major U.S. companies such as airplane manufacturer Boeing, General Electric, and industrial company Caterpillar all issued public statements distancing themselves from President Donald Trump over what they viewed as his failure to adequately condemn the recent riots in Charlottesville, where far-right white nationalists and neo-Nazis clashed with leftist counter-protestors.

While each company was quick to distance itself from the Trump administration and condemn the open racism and bigotry on display in Charlottesville, all three of the corporations continue to do business with Iran, an openly anti-Semitic regime that threatens to murder Jewish people and endorses leading racists such as David Duke.

All of these corporations also have refused to sign on to pledges to refrain from doing business with Iran due to the regime's pursuit of nuclear arms and continued sponsorship of terrorism, including operations targeting U.S. forces.

The failure of these companies to shun business with Iran has prompted criticism by United Against Nuclear Iran, or UANI, a prominent watchdog organization working to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

These companies have thus far declined to sign a UANI-sponsored pledge from business leaders to cut business ties to Iran.

"While Boeing, General Electric and other companies should be commended for immediately denouncing the events of Charlottesville, it also shines light on their decision to do business with Iran," David Ibsen, UANI's executive director, told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement. "The regime in Tehran is a leading state sponsor of terror, and has deliberately advanced anti-Semitism and hate, while oppressing their own citizens including on the basis of sexual orientation. These companies should immediately sign our Iran Business Declaration and immediately pledge to cease all business with Iran."

General Electric, Boeing, and Caterpillar all rushed to distance themselves from the Trump administration and condemn the violence in Charlottesville.

"GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend," a company spokesman was quoted as saying following Trump's comments about the riots.

Caterpillar similarly issued a statement saying, "There is no room for hatred, racism or intolerance" at the company.

Boeing signed on to a public statement from the CEOs of Business Roundtable stating they "will never accept such intolerance and hate."

However, each of these companies continues to pursue business with Iran and has remained silent as the regime sponsors Holocaust-denial conferences and promotes radical violence against Israel and American allies.

Boeing is facing particular scrutiny from anti-Iran advocacy groups and many members of Congress over its effort to ink a multi-billion dollar deal with an Iranian state-controlled air carrier company that the Free Beacon exposed as illicitly shipping militants to Syria in violation of international laws and the landmark nuclear agreement.

Representatives of Boeing also travelled to Iran earlier this year to meet and ink a deal with a top former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) member who threatened to blow up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.

Boeing continues to court the Iranian regime in pursuit of selling a fleet of new airplanes to Iran Air, a state-controlled carrier that has been covertly shipping Iranian militiamen to Syria using commercial aircraft, a move that violates United Nations restrictions on such behavior.

Iran has a long history of using commercial aircraft, including American-made planes, to transfer weapons and troops across the Middle East. This activity has sparked concerns from lawmakers and U.S. officials that Iran will use any new Boeing planes to boost these operations.

Caterpillar, which has many interests in Iran, has been investigated by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission and faced "pointed inquiries" over its continued efforts to obfuscate business dealings with Iran and other countries cited as state sponsors of terrorism.

"Since 2010, Caterpillar has faced pointed inquiries from investors, activists and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into its business interests in three sanctioned countries: Sudan, Syria and Iran," the Peoria Journal Star reported in April.

General Electric also has sent representatives to Iran to explore new business opportunities.

General Electric CEO Lorenzo Simonelli travelled to Iran in early 2016 to "explore business opportunities" there, according to media reports.

Simonelli was among the first U.S. energy executives to travel to Iran following the implementation of the nuclear deal, which relaxed many sanctions barring Western business deals with Tehran.