Former Representative Mel Levine (D-CA) reported on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s business ties to Iran in an op-ed for the Times of Israel. Levine wrote:
According to Romney’s tax records released earlier this year, during 2009 and 2010, over $77,000 of Romney’s money was being invested into CNOOC, an oil company fully owned by the government of China….
CNOOC had just signed an agreement to develop the huge North Pars gas field in Iran.
In fact, Romney’s CNOOC holdings are just the tip of the iceberg, part of a consistent record of behavior by the candidate…
Romney has only held major elected office once in his life, as the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. During that time, he did absolutely nothing to divest its state employee pension fund from companies that do business with Iran, even after conservative security analysts raised public concern (PDF) about these investments in 2004.
Governor Romney had extensive influence over the pension’s decisions through ex-officio membership and additional appointments to its investment management board, but there is zero evidence that he did anything at the time to constrain Iran…
Even if one forgives Romney for doing absolutely nothing about Iran’s nuclear ambitions during his time in government, his conduct since calling for divestment from Iran in 2007 is inexcusable. His investments, handled in a blind trust, were a serial violator of the principle that responsible Americans should not invest in firms that do business with the fundamentalist regime in Tehran….
Between 2008 and 2010, Romney’s blind trust bought and sold roughly 1,800 shares of Nokia despite the fact that Nokia, in a joint venture with Siemens, reportedly sold Iran technology for internet monitoring and censorship in 2008.
He also made other large investments in numerous companies in Europe and around the globe that had recent or ongoing dealings with Iran at the time: BNP Paribas, Schlumberger, Komatsu, China North Oil, Intesa San Paolo. The list is long, and the dollar amounts are stunning.
But perhaps the most hypocritical is Romney’s longtime investment in Gazprom, an energy giant that is working to develop Iran’s natural gas sector and whose majority shareholder is the Russian government.
Candidate Romney has gone on record, wisely or unwisely, calling Russia America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” Yet investor Romney has had no qualms in the last decade over sending a six-figure amount of his own money to line Gazprom’s coffers.
Click here to read Levine’s full piece.
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