Skip to comments.I Hate Snakes (And So Does The Pentagon)
Posted on 12/04/2012 11:11:06 AM PST by filbert00
Like Indiana Jones, I hate snakes, and so doing this post (and especially the picture at the right) was a bit unsettling, but the story was just too good to pass up. According to an article in todays Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the Pentagon is buying snake bite drugs from Iran. Apparently Afghanistan is crawling with venomous snakes (like the Oxus cobra pictured on the right), and Irans Razi Vaccine & Serum Research Institute is one of the few manufacturers and purveyors of the anti-venin needed to combat snake bites in Afghanistan. Indeed, DoD medical guidance explicitly states that the Razi vaccines should be the first line of antivenin therapy.
My, oh my, what a mess. After being contacted by the Wall Street Journal reporters in connection with the story, Pentagon lawyers are apparently trying to figure out whether these purchases violate U.S. sanctions against Iran. (Some free advice for those lawyers: the answer is yes.) And OFAC says its working with DoD to confirm the details of these purchases to ensure compliance with the U.S. embargo on Iran.
(Excerpt) Read more at exportlawblog.com ...
Well, just Damn!! What is to stop the Iranians from adulterating the anti-venom so it doesn’t work? What quality controls do we have to ensure the venom is what it is supposed to be? Talk about feeding the hand that bites you - literally and figuratively. Amazing.
Used to be, our CIA would use a third party to buy what we needed. Like when we bought titanium for the SR-71 from the Soviets through other companies.
OFAC = Office of Foreign Assets Control, an arm of the US Treasury Department. This was not made clear in the article.
After posting my comment above (before reading the entire article), my concern still holds. This guy and his lab could be forced to make a bad batch of anti-venom that was destined for US troops. Probably not likely to happen, but not out of the realm of possibility. Even so, why can not the US purchase snakes or milked venom from the Afghanis and make it ourself? Probably would cost more too.
“Pentagon lawyers are apparently trying to figure out whether these purchases violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.”
Who cares? If it’s the best antivenin, and our troops need it, then sanctions be damned. Let’s not forget the point of the sanctions, is to SERVE our foreign policy interests, not to impede them.
The desire to sell it to other customers.