Wiesenthal Center: Boycott Royal Dutch Shell on Iran trade

Center: “The once proud reputation of Royal Dutch Shell, has been sullied by irresponsible greed."

October 3, 2010 03:02
2 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

Shell CEO Peter Voser 311 Bloomberg. (photo credit: Bloomberg)


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BERLIN – The Simon Wiesenthal Center called last week for a boycott of Royal Dutch Shell gas stations because of the energy company’s increased import of Iranian crude oil.

“We urge the public to avoid Shell gas stations and give their business to companies that honor sanctions. Until Shell publicly announces the cancellation of further crude oil purchases from Iran, all who are concerned for world peace and human rights should leave Shell products on the shelf,” said Dr. Shimon Samuels, head of the Wiesenthal Center’s International Relations section.

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The Anglo-Dutch energy company has long been accused of failing to be transparent about its Iran business.

Samuels wrote in a letter to Peter Voser, Shell’s CEO, that “reportedly, in the months immediately following the imposition of sanctions, your company raised purchases by 27 percent, at the same time enjoying an increased discount due to the ‘reputational risk’ for companies trading with Iran.”

The Guardian newspaper reported on Monday that “sensitive trading documents seen by the Guardian show the UK-registered company stepped up its orders of Iranian oil at a time when other major buyers, including BP and Reliance Industries, India’s largest conglomerate, halted orders amid impending trade sanctions aimed at curbing Teheran’s perceived desire to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Royal Dutch Shell has faced criticism from the Holland-based Iran Committee, which seeks to promote human rights in the Islamic Republic and to stop Iran’s drive to go nuclear.

Yanaï Bar, coordinator for the Iran Committee, wrote by e-mail to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday: “Though Shell’s purchase of oil from Iran is not in breach of sanctions, it is not acting in the spirit of those sanctions either. The point is to put the onus on the regime of Iran for violating its obligations under the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), rather than expanding business ties with its state-owned oil company.”

Bar added, “Such business deals only strengthen the regime’s position and contravene the sanctions’ aim and impact. Businesses like Shell have an ethical responsibility they should uphold. This is a point the Iran Committee will also communicate to the new Dutch government, once it has been installed.”

Samuels, from the Wiesenthal Center, said in his letter to Shell’s Voser that “the once proud reputation of your parent, Royal Dutch Shell, has been sullied by irresponsible greed. Your payment of $1.5 billion this summer to Teheran enriched your coffers, but Shell arguably may be perceived as now indirectly complicit in encouraging Teheran’s weaponization program, its sponsorship of global terrorism and its repressive abuse of domestic fundamental rights.”

Calls to Shell’s Group Media Relations office in England were not immediately returned.

US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said on Thursday that Royal Dutch Shell had “pledged to end their investments in Iran’s energy sector.”

However, there was no mention of plans by Royal Dutch Shell to stop importing petroleum from Iran.

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