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Kirk, Ayotte press Pentagon on contractor’s alleged Iran violations

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two Republicans in the U.S. Senate asked the Pentagon whether it planned any action against a contractor that shipped supplies to an American airbase in Afghanistan through Iran.

The Oct. 22 letter from Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to the Defense Department’s inspector general focuses on Anham FZCO, a logistics contractor based in the United Arab Emirates with offices in the Washington area.

Last month, Anham revealed to U.S. agencies that construction supplies headed for Bagram, the U.S. military airfield in Afghanistan, had been shipped through Iran.

In reporting the violation of U.S. sanctions policies, the company said its senior executives had been unaware of the Iran leg of the transport, which took place in the first half of 2012.

However, a series of emails first reported last month by Defense News and reviewed this week by JTA show that Fadi Nahas, the company’s program manager since 2007, was aware of the shipments.

“Anham executives allegedly knew of their subsidiaries’ activities in Iran long before the company voluntarily informed the Departments of Defense, Commerce and the Treasury of such violations in September 2013,” said the letter to Jon Rymer, the Defense Department’s inspector general. “These same executives were also allegedly aware of such activities prior to signing a major support Defense Department contract in June 2012.”

The senators asked Rymer if contracts with Anham may be voided and if the Defense Department officials is considering action against Anham.

The emails underscore the difficulties of transporting goods in and out of Afghanistan, and also the lengths those moving these materials go to obscure the Iran leg of the journey.

Nahas at one point in the emails writes of “slush funds;” a former Anham official told JTA these were bribes designated for officials who could hinder the transport.

Anham and the Defense Department did not respond to requests for comment.

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