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HP to bar sales of its products in Iran

January 10, 2009
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SAN FRANCISCO - Hewlett-Packard Co. has said it would stop a distributor from selling its products in Iran.

The computer and printer maker acknowledged Thursday that it knew the sales were occurring despite trade sanctions on Iran, but maintained it did nothing illegal and was halting the practice "to go beyond the letter of the law."

The Boston Globe reported last week that HP could be in violation of US export laws because of an arrangement it had with Redington Gulf, a technology distributor in the Middle East, to sell HP printers in Iran.

HP said at the time and reiterated Thursday that it complies with all export laws. But it said in a statement that it would clarify contracts with its distributors "to explicitly prohibit the sale of HP products in Iran."

HP said it would more closely monitor its distributors. "Having recently examined the situation, we believe it's important to go beyond the letter of the law," the statement said.

The company emphasized that it never shipped directly to Iran and doesn't have any employees there. Even so, the Globe story noted that an HP manager had been quoted as calling Iran an important market. In 1999, HP's Middle East manager at the time estimated that sales in Iran would grow 50 percent a year.

The sanctions against Iran were imposed because the US government has identified Iran as a sponsor of terrorism. The rules prohibit anyone from exporting goods, technology, or services from the United States if they know the products will end up in Iran.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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