Risky Business: UANI Advocacy Results in Another Blow to Iran Business Efforts

Contract Terminated For Iranian Sanction-Designated Entity

Two competing visions for how Europe should manage its interactions with Iran are playing out in real time. On the one hand, leaders from the United Kingdom, France and Germany are working around the clock to operationalize a mechanism to permit trade with Iran without subjecting companies to U.S. sanctions. On the other hand is private industry, which is coming to starkly different conclusions about engaging the world’s state sponsor of terrorism.   
This week, the London-based CRU Group confirmed to UANI that its Nitrogen + Syngas conference in Berlin has cancelled the contract of an Iranian business leader who was scheduled to speak before several hundred energy industry leaders. M. Mahdi Abadi, a senior process engineer from the Iranian firm Kermanshah Petrochemical Industries, had been invited to speak at this year’s conference in March. But after UANI alerted conference organizers that Kermanshah is a subsidiary of the U.S.-sanctioned Parsian Oil and Gas Development Company, Abadi’s contract was terminated.

CRU’s cancellation of Abadi’s contract is a stark example of the complexities of sanctions compliance and the opacity of Iran’s economy. “Engaging with Iranian businesses in any capacity is dangerous and could be a violation of U.S. sanctions. Compliance is complicated. It’s expensive. And most decision makers have concluded that it just isn’t worth the risk to be involved with Iran,” said UANI President David Ibsen.
Providing opportunities for Iran to engage on the global stage as a legitimate actor is also dangerous. Iran has been accused this past year of plotting multiple bombings and assassinations on European soil. Its support for terror proxies like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen has continued unabated. Companies in Iran should not be rewarded with the luxury of engaging in global business until and unless the Iranian government changes its behavior.

Thankfully, that perspective is beginning to take hold in Europe. Abadi’s disinvitation from the Nitrogen + Syngas conference comes just weeks after UANI successfully led the effort to cancel the Iran Trade & Investment Forum, which was also scheduled to be in Berlin. That conference was being organized by another London firm, C5.