Hewlett-Packard hp could be breaking U.S. trade sanctions by using a third-party distributor to sell printers in Iran, The Boston Globe reported Monday.
According to the newspaper, HP signed a distribution deal with a Dubai-based company called Redington Gulf in 1997, two years after the Clinton administration put sanctions on Iran.
And while Redington, as a foreign company, falls outside U.S. regulations, the Globe reported that there is evidence HP knew its equipment would end up circumventing U.S. law. For example, in 1999, HP's Middle East manager at the time, Albrecht Ferling, was quoted as estimating that sales in Iran would grow 50% a year, the Globe reported.
David Shane, a spokesman for the company, would not say whether HP plans to stop sales of its printers in Iran. He said Monday that "HP has a policy of complete compliance with all U.S. export laws."
Sales of printers and ink are critical for HP, contributing about half of the Palo Alto-based company's operating profit.
According to the Globe, Redington has helped make HP's printers extremely popular in Iran. The newspaper cited a 2007 poll conducted by a local news organization that estimated HP printers had captured 41% of the market there.