Carly Fiorina, a Republican candidate president and the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, presents herself on the campaign trail as a hawk on Iran. She’s promising to take a hardline on the regime in Tehran.
However, during her time as the chief executive of HP, she “sold hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of products to Iran through a foreign subsidiary, despite strict U.S. export sanctions,” Bloomberg reports.
While running the show at HP, Fiorina thwarted sanctions by dealing with Iran through European and Middle Eastern companies, allowing for the tech company to dominate the market in Tehran. By 2007, HP-made printers accounted for 41 percent of the total market share in the country, the report states.
Fiorina’s dealings with Iran were established thanks to a 1997 agreement made between the U.S. company and the Indian-owned, Dubai-based Redington Gulf.
As Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin writes, HP was engaging in potentially illegal activity, as U.S. companies were prohibited from exporting to Iran thanks to two executive orders signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission started to inquire about HP’s activities overseas following a 2008 Boston Globe exposé that tracked the company’s dealings with Iran. HP responded, denying that it had thwarted the law, but admitting that the company had sold $120 million dollars worth of products to Redington Gulf, which then sent the products to Iran.
Fiorina’s previous dealings with Iran were brought up when she ran for the California Senate in 2010. At the time, her campaign spokeswoman denied that HP had committed any wrongdoing while she was CEO. “It is illegal for American companies to do business in Iran. To her knowledge, during her tenure, HP never did business in Iran and fully complied with all U.S. sanctions and laws,” the spokeswoman said, according to the report.
But later in the campaign, the Republican candidate changed her tone on the matter, telling the Lady Globes magazine that technology could help Iran reengage with the world. “But isn’t it wonderful that Dell PCs and Apple iPhones are in Iran, because this is why we know that a woman has been condemned to be stoned to death because she is accused of adultery… The knowledge that we gain about was going on there is important. It gives us a human face on a brutal regime,” Fiorina said.
From 1999-2004, when Carly was serving as HP’s chief executive, the company’s lobbying arm consistently pushed for “unilateral sanctions reform legislation,” Bloomberg found.