Washington (Reuters) – The U.S. government, while pushing for tougher sanctions against Tehran, has given $107 billion in the past 10 years to U.S. and foreign companies doing business in Iran, much of it in the energy sector, the New York Times reported in its Sunday editions.
Despite the threat of punishment for companies that seek U.S. federal contracts while dealing with Iran, the Times said successive administrations have struggled to exert authority over foreign companies and overseas units of U.S. firms.
Of the 74 companies the newspaper said it had identified as doing business with both the U.S. government and Iran, 49 still work with Iran and have no announced plans to leave.
The Times analyzed federal records, company reports and other documents to conclude that many of the companies are involved in the most important parts of Iran's economy.
More than two-thirds of the government money went to companies doing business in Iran's energy industry. The energy sector is a huge source of revenue for the Iranian government and a stronghold of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which oversees Tehran's nuclear and missile programs.
Companies that the Times said had shared the $107 billion in U.S. contract payments, grants and other benefits between 2000 and 2009 while doing business in Iran, directly or through subsidiaries, included global energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, Brazilian state energy conglomerate Petrobras, U.S. aviation and aerospace company Honeywell, Japanese carmaker Mazda and South Korean engineering group Daelim Industrial.