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Today, U.S companies and their foreign subsidiaries are prohibited from doing any business in Iran except for humanitarian reasons. Unfortunately, with the exception of Canada, the same cannot be said of America’s foreign friends and allies. Beyond the effective embargo of the European Union on Iranian oil, hundreds of major multinational companies, like Ericsson, LG, Lufthansa, Nissan and Mazda continue to do business in Iran.
The Torah teaches us, “Do not profit by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16). Multinational companies that provide corporate support for the Iranian regime- without concern for human rights- are making tremendous profits while the Iranian people continue to suffer at the hands of their own government and the slaughter in Syria continues unabated.
Even worse, many of these companies are making profits while directly enabling the Iranian regime to abuse of the human rights of the Iranian people.
According to the advocacy group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), “… the regime relies on technology and equipment provided by Western and Asian firms. Whether it is telecommunications technology misused to restrict and monitor internet and cellphone communication, motorbikes ridden by the basij to terrorize civilians, or construction cranes used to hang dissidents, foreign firms providing such equipment must immediately end their Iran business or become willing partners in the regime’s ruthless human rights abuses”.
In addition, companies that conduct business as usual with Iran undermine the efforts of the international community to pressure Iran to end its abuse of human rights, support for terrorists and pursuit of nuclear weapons. Moreover, when we, as Americans, invest in these companies, or buy their products, we are unintentionally undermining the sanctions of our own government and inadvertently giving legitimacy to the brutality of the Iranian regime.
Yet, we have the opportunity to send the world a different message: No more business as usual with Iran.
Each of us has the power to shine a light onto the dark business being done by multinational companies in Iran. We can choose not to buy their products or invest in these companies. Each time that we convince a company to end its business in Iran, we are one step closer to convincing the regime to end its abuse of human rights, support for terrorists and pursuit of nuclear weapons.
For the sake of peace, and the freedom of the people of Iran, it is important to act now.
Bob Feferman is Outreach Coordinator for the non-partisan advocacy group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).