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April 27, 2017 11:13 pm

London Conference Promoting Trade With Iran Draws Strong Warning Over ‘Political, Reputational’ Risks

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A global conference in London promoting trade with Iran has drawn a warning from a leading advocacy group opposed to the Tehran regime’s nuclear program about the “severe political, financial and reputational risks associated with doing business in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

In a full page advertisement published in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper to coincide with the Global Trade Review’s (GTR) 2017 Iran Trade Business Briefing in London, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) listed ten major risks associated with doing business in Iran. These include the dangers of unwittingly trading with front companies for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), violating international sanctions and money laundering rules, the potential harassment and even kidnap of employees working in Iran, and inadvertently aiding the Islamist regime’s internal repression.

“Attendees of the Iran Trade Business Briefing should be wary of how the Iranian regime’s aggressive, destabilizing behavior will factor into any potential business pursuits,” said UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace. “Since the implementation of the nuclear deal, Iran has continued to support vicious dictators like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. With absolute power vested firmly in the hands of the supreme leader — and not the president — it is clear that the regime’s behavior will not change after next month’s election. Business leaders need to seriously consider the reputational risk that comes with doing business with a bad actor like Iran.”

Attendees at the conference in London included the former Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who has enthusiastically promoted trade with Iran since returning to private life. Interviewed by the Iranian regime’s English language mouthpiece, Press TV, Straw said, “Normalizing relations with Iran, for Europe and I would suggest for America, has huge advantages. Iran is one of the few stable countries in what is a very turbulent neighborhood in the wider Middle East.”

Straw’s view is not shared in Washington, DC, where the Trump administration has made clear its displeasure with the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration, warning that any violation by Iran of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed in 2015 might result in its dissolution. In its advertisement, UANI pointed to the potential revocation of the JCPOA as another dramatic risk for companies trading with Iran.

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