Risky Business: Corporation Previously In Violation Of Iran Sanctions Appears As 'Approved Vendor’ For Regime

(New York, N.Y.) – United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has documented nearly $20 billion in fines against 535 companies and individuals since 1997 who have done business in Iran. For many of these entities, these penalties have been enough to deter even the suspicion of doing so again. Others, however, do not appear to appreciate the gravity of their situation or the risks they are assuming.

Recently, UANI warned Cryostar USA East, the U.S. subsidiary of French cryogenics company Cryostar, by letter of the possibility that it was engaging in business with companies associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Specifically, Cryostar was alerted by UANI that Cryostar appears on the so-called “approved vendor” lists maintained by Iranian state-owned entities like the National Petrochemical Company and the Iranian Offshore Oil Company, a subsidiary of the sanctioned National Iranian Oil Company—both of which are linked to the IRGC. 

Cryostar, based in Bethlehem PA, has not responded.

Cryostar Entry on the Approved Vendor List Enquiry System, Petroleum and Energy Vendor Source Search Engine of I.R. Iran

Cryostar has the dubious distinction of having been previously found guilty of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. In an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Cryostar in 2008 “pleaded guilty to conspiracy, illegal export, and attempted illegal export of cryogenic submersible pumps to Iran without a license.” A fine of $500,000 was imposed and Cryostar was sentenced to probation for two years. Cryogenic submersible pumps are used to transport and process natural gases at extremely cold temperatures. Equipment of this nature is also subject to export controls under the global compact dealing with dual use export issues, known as the Wassenaar Arrangement.

“Companies operating globally cannot discount the possibility that their products could end up in Iran and be used to support the regime’s nuclear program or its terrorist proxy forces – particularly if they had been caught doing so before,” said UANI Research Director Daniel Roth. “By entertaining the appearance that Cryostar is an ‘approved vendor’ for IRGC-linked firms and failing to address our concerns, our suspicions of new failures to act responsibly are merely heightened. They need to be transparent and forthcoming.”   

Roth concluded, “To prevent any further reputational risk, or even additional punitive action for sanctions violations, Cryostar must clarify its appearance on this Iranian vendor site, its relationship with Iran, and in turn the IRGC. When accused of engaging in business with the number one state sponsor of terrorism, complete transparency on the part of companies and corporations cannot be optional.”