Costco does its part to squeeze Iran
The warehouse retailer cancels memberships tied to pariah state. Hey, every little bit helps.
No less of an authority than The Wall Street Journal is pointing out that the warehouse retailer has decided to cut off Iran's embassies and overseas businesses. Costco's Japanese subsidiary had two memberships in the name of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iran Air was a member at Costco's U.K. affiliate. The warehouse club retailer canceled both memberships in the second quarter.
Costco isn't giving up a whole lot, though. Sales to the embassy were $5,178 in the second and third quarters, generating a profit of $160. No sales were associated with the Iran Air membership, according to a Costco SEC filing that the paper quotes.
Of course, the Iranian government isn't going to buckle because its citizens can't buy pallets of toilet paper or chocolate cakes that could feed its army. Every bit of pressure on the regime in Tehran certainly is welcome. Although the State Department argues that the international community has created "a strong, inter-locking matrix of sanctions," they aren't iron-clad.
Earlier this week, the U.S. government blacklisted what The New York Times called "a global network of front companies controlled by Iran's top leaders" designed to evade the sanctions. In April the U.S. hit a Malaysian bank and several businessmen with financial penalties for illegally doing business with Iran, according to Reuters.
The sanctions have certainly had an impact. Steve Hanke of the Cato Institute estimates that Iran's inflation rate in 2012 was 110%, almost four times the government's official figure of 27.4%. Even so, Iranians are managing to get by because of an influx of gold, among other reasons.
"While the collective punishment delivered by the sanctions has been devastating," Henke, also a professor at Johns Hopkins, wrote earlier this year, "it has ultimately failed to deter the Iranian regime from developing nuclear capacity." Chances are Costco's moves won't change that.
Jonathan Berr owns a small position in Costco. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
So let me get this straight, Costco pays it's employees a fair wage, give them health benefits etc, and close back doors that allow them to sell to governments that they are not supposed to. Walmart treats their staff like slaves, and will sell crap to anyone with a dollar.
And Tom Cruise thinks Walmart is a role model.... Can't wait for my Costco to be built by me. Costco rules
BTW, I love shopping at Costco. In their stores, truly, the customer is treated first class.
I always liked Costco. Even though their actions will have no appreciable impact, thanks guys.
Now if we can just do the 'ol Jedi Mind Trick on Russia, China and France...
A symbolic gesture, but a noteworthy one nonetheless. Any company who tells evil Muslim barbarians to stick it where the sun doesn't shine does right by me.
I know the slavers are wrong to want so many wars, I will not support anyone who supports them. I really do not get to shop many places any more, but better that than being a stupid wage slave who helps slavers at every turn.
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