Following implementation of the deal, and its lifting of sanctions, some businesses have engaged in business deals with Iran, despite the financial, legal, and socio-political risks. United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has recently unveiled its Iran Risk Snapshot, part of a campaign to discourage companies from doing business with Iran. This is a set of 27 financial, legal, and sociopolitical indices from leading organizations who analyze the risks of doing business around the world. Among these indices, Iran consistently ranks at or near the bottom.
Reports from Forbes, The World Bank, and the World Economic Forum find Iran’s investment laws unfavorable, and cite the regime’s lack of transparency.
Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab recently appeared in U.S. federal court and testified that he and Turkish banker Hakan Atilla ran a money laundering network from 2010 to 2015. This network provided Iran with access to international markets, despite U.S. sanctions. Zarrab also discussed his connection to former Iranian President Ahmadinejad, as well as a meeting between himself and the former chairman of the Central Bank of Iran. A New York jury is deliberating his fate.
Reports from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have designated Iran as a “high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdiction.” Funding of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah further the argument that companies should not do business with Iran.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been described by President Trump as the “Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia.” Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar claimed that Iran was the group’s “largest backer financially and militarily,” last August. In September, it was reported that the regime in Tehran boosted its financial support to Hezbollah to the tune of $800 million a year in 2017. A November report suggests that the IRGC controls Mahan Air, Iran’s largest airline, and employs its fleet to transport troops and weaponry to Syria and Lebanon. Additionally, in December, it was reported that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen killed the country’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Heritage Foundation‘s reports find Iran’s high degree of censorship, poor regulation, lack of political stability, in combination with a lack of accountability, create an environment where human rights violations and persecution of minorities are expected.
According to recently found by the United Nations, there are at least 90 people under the age of 18 on death row in Iran. Executions are often public hangings, and are may be carried out without formal charges or family notifications.
Iran is also holding American and western hostages, including Xiyue Wang, Robert Levinson and Siamak Namazi.
The financial, legal, and socio-political uncertainties of doing business with Iran should make it undesirable to do so. UANI continues its work, making the risks understood, so that none can claim ignorance as an excuse.