Don’t Buy Iranian Goods
At least, I assume that’s what the message was from the US Treasury’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence while visiting here in Azerbaijan. From Today.Az:
He will hold official meetings in Baku on Tuesday.Stuart Levey is expected to meet with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and representatives of the National Bank of Azerbaijan.
Levey will discuss UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program and then to travel to Istanbul and to Ankara to hold similar discussions with the Turkish officials.
Neat stuff, right? Well, it becomes more interesting as a Peace Corps Volunteer living 45 minutes from the border of Iran and Azerbaijan. While I’m fairly certain that US funds are not to go towards buying Iranian goods, I’m also fairly certain that I probably do so daily. The mirror that hangs in my bathroom has Farsi written all over it. Iranian fruits and vegetables stock our Lənkəran bazaar. What is there to do, especially when the Iranian goods are the cheap ones?
The other interesting twist here is what we can do with particular grants. USAID and Peace Corps work together on what is called a SPA Grant. While currently I don’t have any big plans to get SPA Grant money, my proximity to Iran means that SPA Grant money would probably be buying something from Iran. That must be against the USA’s rules on use of government funds, right? I don’t really see Azerbaijan being happy with such an arrangement for their own funds.