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Huntsman Draws Praise for Ceasing Sales to Iran

Jason Gewirtz|Senior Producer

A group pressuring global companies to stop operating in Iran is hailing chemical maker Huntsmanfor its decision to cut business ties with the Islamic Republic.

Since November, United Against a Nuclear Iran has been calling on Huntsman , which manufactured and sold polyurethanes to Iran, to stop doing business in the country. As CNBC.com first reported Tuesday, Huntsman has agreed to comply with UANI's request.

Hunstman declined to speak to CNBC, but issued a statement on its website stating it would stop selling products to Iran through its international subsidiaries. The statement also claimed Hunstman will exit any contractual arrangements as soon as such moves are legally possible.

"It was determined that the small amount of business done there does not justify the reputational risk currently associated with doing business with entities located in Iran, due to the growing international concern over the policies of the current regime there," the company said.

Polyurethanes are often used for non-military purposes, but are also a key component in solid rocket propellants for long-range missiles. Solid rocket fuel is used by Iran and other countries to allow its missile fleets to be on faster standby for launch.

Iran possesses missiles powered by solid fuel and controls one of the largest missile stockpiles in the world. Polyurethanes are also used in other military equipment.

Huntsman says it had no knowledge that any of its products in Iran were used in missile technology.

UANI President Mark Wallace issued thanks for Hunstman's decision.

"Two months ago, UANI called on Huntsman to end its dealings in Iran. Huntsman's announcement sends a clear message that responsible companies will not do business in Iran. Huntsman's decision is another wake up call to those businesses here in the United State that continue to do business in Iran," Wallace said.

Huntsman's President and CEO, Peter Huntsman, is the brother of United States Ambassador to China and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. His father, Jon Huntsman, is the founder and executive chairman of the company.

Huntsman's relationship with Iran created something akin to an awkward double standard, given the ambassador to China's relationship with the Huntsman CEO. The U.S. has been pressuring China to cut its growing financial ties with Iran. Despite U.S. pressure, China is expanding its energy deals in the Islamic Republic, investing billions of dollars in Iranian oil and natural gas fields.

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