Another non-major media gem.
From the NY Daily News
U.S. exports to Iran grow tenfold during Bush years
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON - U.S. exports to Iran- including brassieres, bull semen, cosmetics and possibly even weapons - grew more than tenfold during President Bush's years in office even as he accused Iran of nuclear ambitions and helping terrorists. America sent more cigarettes to Iran , at least $158 million worth under Bush, than any other products.
Other surprising shipments to Iran during the Bush administration: fur clothing, sculptures, perfume and musical instruments. Top states shipping goods to Iran include California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of seven years of U.S. government trade data.
Despite increasingly tough rhetoric toward Iran, which Bush has called part of an "axis of evil," U.S. trade in a range of goods survives on-again, off-again sanctions originally imposed nearly three decades ago. The rules allow sales of agricultural commodities, medicine and a few other categories of goods. The exemptions are designed to help Iranian families even as the United States pressures Iran's leaders.
"Our sanctions are targeted against the regime, not the people," said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the sanctions. The government tracks exports to Iran using details from shipping records, but in some cases it's unclear whether anyone pays attention.
Sanctions are intended in part to frustrate Iran's efforts to build its military, but the U.S. government's own figures show at least $148,000 worth of unspecified weapons and other military gear were exported from the United States to Iran during Bush's time in office. That includes $106,635 in military rifles and $8,760 in rifle parts and accessories shipped in 2004, the data shows.
Also shipped to Iran were at least $13,000 in "aircraft launching gear and/or deck arrestors," equipment needed to launch jets from aircraft carriers, according to U.S. records. Iran's navy is not believed to own or operate any carriers.
Those numbers may seem small, but military items can sell for pennies on the dollar compared with what the Pentagon paid. Last year, federal agents seized four F-14 fighter jets sold to domestic buyers by an officer at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, Calif., for $2,000 to $4,000 each, with proceeds benefiting a squadron recreation fund. When F-14s were new, they cost roughly $38 million each.
Szubin said it was unlikely exports of military gear occurred, but added that the government was looking into it to be certain after the AP raised questions. He said shipping records are subject to human error, such as citing wrong commodity codes or recording "Iran" as the destination rather than "Iraq." The Treasury Department said Monday it was still checking to see whether it could offer an explanation. (More Stuff...)