Report: Exxon did business with Iran under watch of Rex Tillerson, Trump's secretary of state pick

WASHINGTON – Already under scrutiny for his business ties to Russia, secretary of state candidate Rex Tillerson now must answer questions about work an Exxon Mobil subsidiary conducted with Iran under his watch.

USA TODAY reported late Monday that the Irving-based oil behemoth did business with Iran, Syria and Sudan through a European venture, Infineum, even though those countries were under sanctions from the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism.

The deals – done in part during Tillerson’s time as Exxon’s CEO – were outlined in Securities and Exchange Commission filings found by the Democratic research group American Bridge.

Alan Jeffers, an Exxon Mobil spokesman, defended the sales, which totaled about $55 million. He told USA TODAY that the deals were legal because the subsidiary, a joint operation with Shell Corporation, was based in Europe and because they didn’t involve any American employees.

“These are all legal activities complying with the sanctions at the time,” Jeffers told USA TODAY.

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