FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Renews Campaign Against Fiat, Calls on Jennifer Lopez to Renounce Fiat Ties
New York, NY - On Thursday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) renewed its campaign against auto manufacturer Fiat, and publicly called on Fiat endorser Jennifer Lopez to end her support for Fiat if the company refuses to end its Iran business.
Fiat's subsidiary Iveco continues to sell and distribute trucks in Iran that have been used by the Iranian regime to transport ballistic missiles and stage gruesome public executions. Fiat also continues to operate in Iran's automobile market, and is reportedly planning to expand its presence there by opening a luxury Maserati dealership in Tehran.
On Wednesday, UANI sent Ms. Lopez a letter concerning her support for Fiat. Highlighting the human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions of the Iranian regime, UANI asked for Ms. Lopez to support UANI's campaign by using her position to compel Fiat to change its irresponsible policies, or end her lucrative financial relationship with the company.
In a letter to Ms. Lopez, UANI President, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
... [B]y endorsing Fiat, you are serving as spokesperson for a company that freely does business with a regime that is developing an illegal nuclear weapons program, financing and sponsoring terrorist groups including al-Qaeda, has killed American and NATO soldiers and is recognized as one of the world's leading human rights violators. Political dissidents, human rights activists, labor leaders, women, ethnic and religious minorities, homosexuals and students in Iran are routinely detained incommunicado and beaten, raped, lashed and subjected to inhumane forms of physical and psychological torture. According to an October 2011 United Nations report, there are at least 100 juveniles on death row in Iran. The same United Nations report states that at least 300 executions were carried out in secret in Iran in 2010 alone. These executions are often cruel and unusual and include public hangings by construction cranes and stoning. A Fiat subsidiary, Iveco, produces vehicles that are reportedly used by the Iranian regime as platforms to stage such gruesome public executions. It is doubtful that you would want your name or image even remotely associated with a company involved in such actions. ...
UANI recognizes that your endorsement of Fiat does not represent a sign of your support for the Iranian regime and its abhorrent practices. With that said, however, it is important for you to know that as its spokesperson, you are now the face of Fiat, and are therefore synonymous with a corporation that is undermining U.S. foreign policy and international security through its willingness to do business with the leaders of one of the world's most dangerous and repressive regimes.
In a separate letter to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, Ambassador Wallace wrote:
In light of Fiat's decisions to re-enter the U.S. market and to purchase a majority ownership of Chrysler Group, it is important for Fiat to send the strongest message possible to the Iranian regime that the misuse of Fiat products is unacceptable. Americans are increasingly reluctant to support business such as Fiat that cooperate with a dangerous and repressive regime that finances terrorist groups, killed American and NATO soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and brutalizes its own population. Simply put, Americans will increasingly hesitate to buy Fiat and Chrysler Group products absent the adoption of ethical corporate policies that preclude business in Iran.
During this week's North American International Auto Show, you acknowledged that the huge miss of Fiat's sales target in North America was a result of being "incredibly naïve." It would be similarly naïve to expect Americans to purchase additional Fiat and Chrysler Group vehicles in light of revelations regarding Fiat's business in Iran.
UANI has requested replies from Ms. Lopez and Mr. Marchionne by January 18, 2012.