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Amazon under investigation for selling goods to Iranian embassy

Mike Segar | REUTERS
Mike Segar | REUTERS
Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, Jan. 29, 2016.
By Abha Bhattarai, The Washington Post

Amazon.com is under federal investigation for possibly violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, the online giant said Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company says it sold and delivered about $34,000 worth of products — including books, software, consumer electronics, musical instruments and jewelry — to an Iranian embassy, as well as to others with links to the Iranian government, between January 2012 and June 2017. The company says it also sold about $300 worth of items to a person on the U.S. government’s terrorism watch list. (Jeffrey Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

“We are unable accurately to calculate the net profit attributable to these transactions,” Amazon said in the filing. “We do not plan to continue selling to these accounts in the future.”

Amazon said it has “voluntarily reported” those transactions to the Treasury and Commerce departments, which are leading the investigation, and that the review could lead to “the imposition of penalties.”

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Barack Obama in 2012 signed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act as part of an effort to get Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. As part of the act, public companies that knowingly do business with Iran are required to disclose those activities to the government.

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department fined ExxonMobil $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions on Russia. Exxon has said it will challenge the fine.

 


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