U.S. Ambassador Susan E. Rice Owns Stake in Companies That Have Done Business with Iran

New questions are being raised over the possible nomination of Ambassador Rice to secretary of state due to the stakes her and her husband own in companies that have recently done business with Iran. In 2010, the U.N. Security Council approved sanctions on Iran, developed by Rice, which were described by diplomats as one of the toughest sanctions efforts in the the history of the organization.

The companies in question are global conglomerates and some have stopped doing business with Iran in order to comply with international sanctions. One of the biggest of Rice’s holdings, between $50,000 and $100,000,according to a disclosure statement for 2011, is Royal Dutch Shell. The international oil giant stopped buying crude oil from Iran early this year. Rice and her husband also own between $15,000 and $50,000 of stock in ENI, an Italian international oil company. ENI says that it no longer does business with Iran, but it has been granted a waiver from sanctions to allow it to collect oil as payment for about $1 billion Iran owes the company from earlier business deals. The company had been purchasing crude oil and developing natural gas fields.

“With respect to Iran, Ambassador Rice worked to impose the toughest U.N. sanctions regime ever on Iran for its continued failure to live up to its obligations,” said Rice’s spokeswoman, Erin Pelton. “Iran is more isolated than it has ever been and facing the toughest economic pressure ever mustered.”

Rice is one of the richest members of the Obama Cabinet. She and her husband, Ian Cameron, were worth between $23.5 million and $43.5 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Her late father was a World Bank director and governor of the Federal Reserve.

 

 

U.S. Ambassador to Israel: America “Ready” to Strike Iran if Necessary

According to Washington’s envoy to Israel, the U.S. has plans in place to attack Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, if necessary.

In a speech to the Israel Bar Association, Dan Shapiro said the U.S. hopes it will not have to resort to military force.

“But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available. Not just available, but it’s ready,” he said. “The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”

Iran remains steadfast in it’s position that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, like energy production. The U.S. and Israel suspect Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

The Obama White House continues to push diplomacy and economic sanctions as the way to go to stop Iran from obtaining Nukes.

Israel, while saying it would prefer a diplomatic solution, has expressed skepticism and says time is running out for effective military action.

President Obama has assured Israel that the U.S. is prepared to take military action if necessary, but Shapiro’s comments were the most explicit sign yet that preparations have been made.

In his speech, Shapiro acknowledged that time is running out.

“We do believe there is time. Some time, not an unlimited amount of time,” Shapiro said. “But at a certain point, we may have to make a judgment that the diplomacy will not work.”

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany are preparing for a May 23 meeting with Iran in Baghdad. Shortly after the meeting, the U.N. atomic agency is to release its latest report card on Iran’s nuclear efforts.

In Tehran on Thursday, top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili warned against Western pressure at next week’s talks, which are a follow-up to negotiations in Istanbul last month that all sides described as positive.

“Cooperation is what we can talk about in Baghdad,” Jalili said in comments broadcast on Iranian state TV. “Some say time is running out for the talks,” he added. “I say time for the (West’s) pressure strategy is running out.”

Israel’s military chief told the Associated Press last month that other countries as well as Israel have readied their armed forces for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear sites.