Cometals (Commercial Metals Company)

Industrial Metals

[email protected]

"This license authorized the company to complete the sale and delivery of Mexican-origin goods, the precise nature of which OFAC redacted, to China, even though the goods had been shipped via the Iranian government-owned shipping line known as Irisl. Irisl has since been designated as an entity involved in helping the Iranian regime obtain technology it needs for its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The license also allowed the bank that issued the letter of credit for the sale, HSBC, to make good on its obligations. In granting the license, OFAC wrote that Cometals had advised the agency that it was subject to large daily fees for every day that the vessel was not unloaded as well as possible financial claims from the Chinese customer for failing to deliver the goods. OFAC granted the license 'in order to enable Cometals to avoid significant financial loss,' it said. While OFAC was under no obligation to grant this license given that it involved an Iranian entity, OFAC's director, Adam J. Szubin, stressed that Irisl was not added to a special United States blacklist of proliferators until five years after this license was issued. Up until then, he said case-by-case exceptions were made in cases like this one in which the company did not know that an Iranian entity was involved when it entered into the transaction, and in which granting the license did not involve a direct payment from a United States person or company to an Iranian entity." (New York Times, "Licenses Granted to U.S. Companies Run the Gamut," 12/24/10)