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ExxonMobil did business with Iran under Trump’s Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson

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ExxonMobil did business with Iran while President-elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, was a top executive within the company, according to USA Today.  

The sales were conducted in 2003, 2004 and 2005, when the country was still under U.S. sanctions for acting as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Tillerson became senior vice president of the company in 2001 and later took on the role of president and director in March 2004. He became CEO in January 2006. 

The oil giant also reportedly did business with Syria and Sudan, who were under U.S. sanctions for the same reason.


ExxonMobil told USA Today those sales were legal because they were conducted by the European subsidiary Infineum, which is based in Europe. That prevented any U.S. employees from being involved in the sales. 

At the time, the oil giant owned a 50 percent share in Infineum, USA Today reports based on documents obtained by the Democratic research group American Bridge.

A letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) questioned why ExxonMobil never notified shareholders that it had dealings with three countries facing U.S. sanctions. 

"We didn’t feel they were material because of the size of the transactions," Alan Jeffries, media manager at ExxonMobil, told USA Today. 

USA Today reports that show that the company had $53.2 million in sales to Iran, $600,000 in sales to Sudan and $1.1 million in sales to Syria. 

Richard Gutman, ExxonMobil’s assistant general counsel at the time, responded to the SEC's inquiry, saying those figures are very small in comparison to Exxon's $371 billion annual revenue. 

The business deals will likely be brought up during Tillerson's confirmation hearing Wednesday. 

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