U.S. Companies Doing Business With Iran, Syria

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 23, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: A couple of weeks ago we told you that General Electric Corporation, which owns NBC, is doing business with Iran and Syria, two states that sponsor terrorism. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt denies doing business with Iran, but we have confirmed that he does.

But GE is not alone in doing business with the bad guys. Joining us now from New Orleans, Christopher Holton, national director of the Center for Security Policy's Divest Terror Initiative.

General Electric is the largest profit-maker of doing business with terror states, correct?

CHRISTOPHER HOLTON, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY'S DIVEST TERROR INITIATIVE: They are among the largest U.S. companies that do business in terror sponsorship.

O'REILLY: All right. Do you know anybody making more money doing business with the terrorist-sponsored states than them?

HOLTON: No, sir.

O'REILLY: OK. I just want to get that on the record. I want to get that on the record for all the GE stockholders out there.

Coca-Cola, you say, is doing business with terrorist states. How does that go down?

HOLTON: Yes, sir. Coca-Cola markets its products in both Iran and Sudan, skirting U.S. sanctions policies. U.S. sanctions policies prohibit U.S. companies from doing business directly in either country, but Coca-Cola goes through a foreign cutout to deliver its concentrate to bottlers in both Sudan and Iran.

O'REILLY: Yes, they use an Irish facility. The spokesperson for Coca-Cola does admit that. So they're doing business with Iran and the Sudan. Sudan, of course, is Darfur.

Pepsi-Cola, what are they doing?

HOLTON: Very similar to Coca-Cola. They are also using an Irish cutout to market their products in Iran.

O'REILLY: Syria as well?

HOLTON: And Syria, yes, sir.

O'REILLY: OK. So Coke and Pepsi both getting their beverages over to these places by using a third-party state, which is Ireland at this point.

HOLTON: Yes, sir, to skirt U.S. sanctions, because they can't do business directly in either country.

O'REILLY: Directly, yes. And that's what GE is doing, as well, we understand. It's a French concern that is doing some business with Syria, but I could be wrong about that. Ford…

HOLTON: It's a French — GE France and also a subsidiary in Canada that...

O'REILLY: A Canadian subsidiary, too.

HOLTON: …in Iran.

O'REILLY: That's why Immelt can say, "We don't do business with them," because that's what they do, this little shell game.

Ford. What's Ford doing?

HOLTON: Ford does business in Syria through a distributor and also has foreign subsidiaries such as Land Rover and Volvo that do business in both Iran and Syria.

O'REILLY: Now, how can they get around the sanction then? How does Ford get around?

HOLTON: U.S. sanctions cannot extend to foreign companies, so if there's a foreign subsidiary that is a foreign company that happens to be owned by Ford, they can...

O'REILLY: They can ship Detroit cars through Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar?

HOLTON: They cannot ship Detroit cars, but they can ship cars with the Ford label and other labels made in foreign countries such as Brazil and Thailand and, in the case of Land Rover in the U.K. and Volvo in Sweden, they can ship those cars to Iran and Syria.

O'REILLY: OK. Finally, we have Polaroid and Goodyear. What are they doing?

HOLTON: Both of those companies do business through foreign distributors, selling their products, skirting U.S. sanctions policies into Iran.

O'REILLY: OK. So they're big on the Iranian front. And Sudan, I guess, gets some Polaroid action, too. Sudan, very poor country, obviously. But I mean, it's brutal.

All right, Mr. Holton. Go ahead. Last word.

HOLTON: Sudan, we should not forget the fact that they are a terrorist-sponsoring nation.


HOLTON: They were found liable for the attack on the USS Cole. They are very heavily involved.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. They're tied in with Al Qaeda, and then they allow all that Darfur stuff to go on in the south.

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