Costco’s U.K. Unit Inadvertently Granted Membership to Iran Air

Costco Wholesale (COST) Corp., the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain, said its U.K. unit inadvertently granted a membership to a person in the name of Iran Air, a move that could have violated sanctions against Iran.

The transaction was reversed and the membership was canceled on March 12, the Issaquah, Washington-based company said yesterday in a filing. No revenue was recognized from the transaction, Costco said.

The U.S. and Europe have imposed sanctions on Iran in an attempt to prevent it from pursuing a nuclear program, restricting companies’ dealings with the country. Last year, Costco canceled a business membership at its Japanese subsidiary that was opened in the name of the Iran embassy. In that case, the membership generated $1,032 in revenue and an estimated $13 in profit in the quarter ending in August.

Costco shares were little changed yesterday in New York trading, closing at $113.45. The stock has declined 4.7 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Dudley in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at John Lear

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