Leaders of the MetroWest Jewish community are urging the Morristown-based Honeywell International to cease any further business dealings with Iran.
In a Nov. 12 letter to Honeywell CEO David Cote, four local leaders in the campaign to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons call on the corporation to provide them with “full and transparent description of all of Honeywell’s business interests in Iran.”
They are also requesting “a definitive and clear commitment” that Honeywell “will conduct no future business in Iran as long as Iran pursues an illegal nuclear weapons program and is subject to domestic and international sanctions.”
The letter was signed by Gary Aidekman, president of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ; Max Kleinman, its executive vice president; David Lentz, chair of the MetroWest Community Relations Committee; and Danielle Flaum, the teenage founder and director of No Nukes for Iran.
“Honeywell is a major player for us,” said Lentz. “They are a multinational corporation whose headquarters is in our federation area…. The employees, the executives, the people who work on government compliance are our neighbors.”
In a Nov. 16 phone interview, Lentz said Honeywell has received close to $13 billion in contracts from the U.S. government since 2005, even as it sells equipment to Iran’s oil refinery in Araq.
But under terms of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 passed by Congress in July, corporations may not “directly or significantly” contribute to development of petroleum resources in Iran.
On March 12, The New York Times identified 74 corporations that did business with both the United States and Iran over the last decade. “Honeywell is by far the largest recipient of American government contracts with an active presence in Iran,” Lentz noted. “They have apparently committed to not having anything new, but they are fulfilling its contractual obligations relating to the Iraq refinery.”
He said the company “now has to get in compliance and adjust what it does to comply with federal law. If it adjusts and complies, it will speak very loudly to other companies similarly situated in Iran,” he said.
To date “there has been no direct contact” with Honeywell’s management, said Lentz.
Honeywell spokespeople did not respond to NJJN directly, but provided a statement on Monday.
“Honeywell is compliant with all U.S. laws and with all laws in every country where we operate,” according to the statement. “We have committed to accept no new assignments in Iran and are in full compliance with the recently signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. We will complete existing work that we undertook under pre-existing contracts only to the extent authorized under the new law. Should U.S. law change and prevent the company from fulfilling existing contractual obligations, we will comply.”