New York, NY, April 11, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), deeply concerned that the Spanish government's Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX) is organizing a delegation to an oil and gas trade show in Tehran, today called on the Spanish government to honor the European Union's sanctions against Iran and to cancel the trip.
The E.U. enacted sanctions in October 2010 to prevent European companies from investing in or providing technology or services to Iran's energy sector.
"Responsible governments are looking for ways to pressure Iran's leaders, while Spain is looking to sell them pressure valves," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "If a Spanish governmental agency is promoting the violation of E.U. sanctions against Iran, who is going to take these sanctions seriously? Certainly not the Iranian regime."
In a letter to Miguel Sebastián, Spain's Minister of Industry, the League expressed concern at an ICEX announcement that it is organizing a business delegation to the Iran Oil & Gas Show, slated to take place April 16-19 in Tehran, in a step that would contradict the very essence of E.U. sanctions against the regime's energy sector.
ADL has previously documented that ICEX and an Italian Chamber of Commerce hosted an Iranian business delegation in March to promote business in Iran's energy, financial, and infrastructure sectors. The energy and financial sectors are subject to E.U. sanctions and the infrastructure sector is dominated in Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), designated by the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. government, and the E.U. as engaged in Iran's nuclear and missile programs.
Mr. Foxman wrote: "The proposed visit to the Iranian Oil & Gas Show 2011 and the recent Iranian delegation visit to Madrid send a signal of 'business as usual' to Iran, despite its pursuit of nuclear weapons in blatant violation of its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations, its continuing recalcitrance to engage in negotiations over its nuclear program, and its extensive and ongoing violations of human rights.
"Attending the oil show and hosting another delegation in October would only amplify this counterproductive signal and convey that E.U. restrictive measures on sectors of the Iranian economy and on IRGC companies are not to be taken seriously by Spanish companies or their potential Iranian partners."