January 1, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

‘CEOs of Firms Active in Iran Should Avoid U.S. Due to Arrest Risk’

“The business people are paralyzed" with Iran trade, legal consultant said.
January 1, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

‘CEOs of Firms Active in Iran Should Avoid U.S. Due to Arrest Risk’

“The business people are paralyzed" with Iran trade, legal consultant said.

A leading legal management consultant said in December that CEOs of medium-sized businesses should not travel to the United States because they could face a fate similar to that of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, who was arrested in Canada for alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran.

José Campos Nave, a top executive with the management company Rödl & Partner, told the business publication WirtschaftsWoche, “At the moment, I would not advise a CEO of a company that has a lot to do with Iran, and that has a certain economic relevance, to travel to the United States.” Campos Nave made his comment in answer to a question about Wanzhou’s arrest, which sent shock waves through the global business community.

Rödl & Partner provides “attorneys, tax advisers, management and IT consultants and auditors,” according to the company, and is “presently with 111 of own offices in 51 countries. Worldwide, our clients trust our 4,700 colleagues.”

The US reimposed bank, airline and energy sanctions against Iran in November. The potent economic sanctions are designed to stop Tehran’s drive to develop a nuclear weapon, blunt its revolutionary Islamic terrorism, and halt Tehran’s expansionism in the Middle East.

Campos Nave told the business publication the sanctions are effective in the sense that they create “chaos” and “at this time there is no clear line between what is allowed and what is prohibited” regarding trade. “The business people are paralyzed,” he said, adding,“the trade volume with the US is 80 times bigger than that with Iran. No one wants to spoil US business, even if the industry may not be affected by the sanctions. That’s why almost everyone left Iran.”

The Jerusalem Post exclusively reported last week that the German company Krempel – which provided construction material to Tehran businessmen that was used in rockets produced by the Iranian regime to gas Syrians earlier this year – has stopped trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The American government classifies the Iranian regime as the leading international state sponsor of terrorism.

Campos Nave said it is not possible to deliver products to Iran because payment methods have been blocked by the US. The management consultant, who has knowledge of German mid-size companies active in Iran, said, “As a company, you can deliver products to Iran that are not affected by the sanctions, but you will probably not receive any payment.”

Germany remains Iran’s largest European Union trade partner. In response to Post questions about German support for trade with Iran, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to bust US sanctions, Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff wrote on Twitter on Monday, “After four Netanyahu-Merkel meetings and phone calls this year, senior confidential dialogues in Berlin and numerous other exchanges/briefings, I feel certain that Berlin is fully aware of Israel’s stand on Iran.”

Issacharoff wrote in an earlier tweet: “Iranian regime’s highest level of fanaticism, hostility and aggressive intent toward Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States (sic). Iran is a quintessential regional security threat by its own admission. Europe cannot and should not ignore this stark reality.”

When asked about the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle – an EU payment mechanism intended to evade US sanctions against Iran – Campos Nave told the WirtsschaftsWoche the EU is a “toothless tiger. There have already been several attempts by special purpose entities to maintain trade in exchange opportunities. That has not been successful so far.” He said he fears efforts to bypass US sanctions will not function.

In October, President Reuven Rivlin urged Merkel to join the US sanctions against Iran. Rivlin told Merkel, “The Iranian monster should be starved, not fed.”

Merkel ignored Israel’s request to sanction Tehran.

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


China Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Politics and Economy Iran Sanctions Iran-backed Terrorism Syria