Amazon Continuing To Facilitate Trade With Sanctioned Iranian Entities

(New York, N.Y.) – Despite its position as one of the world’s leading multinational companies with subsidiaries that have been awarded tens of billions of dollars in U.S. government contracts, recent evidence shows that Amazon is continuing to fail in fulfilling its responsibility to abide by U.S. sanctions against Iranian entities. Documentation published online indicates the company facilitated the sale of computing hardware from U.S. suppliers to a foreign subsidiary of a U.S.-sanctioned Iranian entity.

The documents suggest that Amazon permitted a Turkish subsidiary of Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company (IPCC), part of Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum, to make the purchase. IPCC has been under U.S. sanctions since June 2010 and the Ministry of Petroleum since October 2020. Further, IPCC’s customers include several firms subject to U.S. sanctions and entities linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

Documentation detailing the purchase of hardware by the Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company through Amazon.

The ease with which Amazon is used to evade U.S. sanctions aligns with research by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) showing that the company has been complicit in allowing products available for sale on its marketplace to flow into Iran for years.

In 2020, UANI alerted company officials to several Iranian websites, including Iranicard, Payment24, Panypay, and Tehran CreditCard, that were openly advertising their ability to get Amazon products into Iran by first having them delivered to a U.S. address. One of the more egregious perpetrators, Iranicard, features the Amazon logo prominently and extensively on its website, including the landing page.

The company has not provided a substantive response to UANI’s inquiries into the matter.

Screenshot of Iranicard’s landing page, featuring the Amazon logo.

Amazon has also previously admitted to violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. As the company stated in an Amazon 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”): “In 2016, we determined that we processed and delivered orders of consumer products for certain individuals and entities located outside Iran covered by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act or other United States sanctions and export control laws....” In July 2020, Amazon agreed to pay the U.S. Treasury Department nearly $135,000 to settle its “potential civil liability for apparent violations” after providing “goods and services” to sanctioned persons in Iran, Syria, and Crimea.

“Amazon undoubtedly has the capability and resources to ensure its platform is protected from being hijacked by bad actors attempting to subvert sanctions, and it has a clear responsibility to do so,” said UANI Research Director Daniel Roth. “By turning a blind eye and allowing these transactions to occur, they are helping to strengthen sanctioned Iranian entities to the detriment of the U.S. government’s efforts to hold Iran accountable, all while profiting from the illicit sales. Amazon can and should take responsibility and control of its platform to ensure these activities by Iranian firms do not continue.”