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Fri, 01/14/2011 - 14:49 | by uaniadmin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2011
Contact: Kimmie Lipscomb, email@example.com
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Renews Its Call for Rio Tinto to End Its Business with the Iranian Government
New York, NY - United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) on Thursday responded to Rio Tinto's attempt to defend its co-ownership with the Iranian Government of the Rossing uranium mine. In a letter to UANI, Rio Tinto failed to address Iran's 15% ownership of the Rossing mine, and instead argued that Iran's share was acquired in 1975, prior to the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Such an argument in no way addresses UANI's immediate concern that a regime attempting to enrich uranium for the purposes of a nuclear weapon maintains direct ownership in a mine that produces uranium. Rio Tinto must sever its ties with the Iranian Government.
Rio Tinto currently owns a majority stake in the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia, while the Iran Foreign Investment Company (IFIC) owns a 15% stake in the same mine. The IFIC is wholly owned by the Iranian government.
UANI is concerned that Rio Tinto has failed to address specific provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) and renews its call on Rio Tinto and Rossing to sever ties with the Iranian Government or risk debarment from U.S. government contracting and a ban by U.S. nuclear regulatory agencies.
In a letter to Jan du Plessis, the Chairman of the Rio Tinto Group, UANI President, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace wrote:
Thank you for the letter of November 8, 2010 from the Rio Tinto Group ("Rio Tinto"). While your letter attempts to address some of the concerns raised about Iran's investment in the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia, the largest issue - the current Iranian government's 15 percent stake - remains outstanding and is of serious concern to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and many within the international community.
In your November 8th letter, you dismiss the concerns raised by UANI because the government of Iran initially acquired its share in the Rossing mine in 1975, four years prior to the establishment of the Islamic Republic. This fact is not relevant in 2011 when the government that has been profiting from the mine for over three decades is one that is pursuing an illegal nuclear weapons program, sponsoring terrorism in the region, and engaging in a brutal campaign of repression against its own citizens. As you are no doubt aware, circumstances (including governments) change and it is incumbent on policy-makers, responsible corporations, and the international community to respond to present day realities.
When the United Nations passed Security Council Resolution 1929 this past summer, it did so because it recognized that the Iranian government's investments in uranium mines pose a threat to international peace and security. The steps Rio Tinto has taken to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear know-how, access to the facility, etc., are insufficient. As noted in UANI's October 21st letter to Rio Tinto, Iranians have access to the facility, sit on the board, and are able to acquire valuable technical knowledge which can be used in Iran to advance Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Further, UANI is also concerned that you have failed to address the specific provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) signed into law on July 1, 2010 by President Obama.
UANI renews its call on Rio Tinto and Rossing to sever ties with any entity directly or indirectly representing the Iranian government. Should Rio Tinto refuse, UANI will call for Rio Tinto to be formally debarred from U.S. government contracting. In addition, UANI will call on all relevant nuclear regulatory agencies and entities in the United States to cease any and all business with Rio Tinto and Rossing.
Click here to read UANI's reply to Rio Tinto.
Click here to read Rio Tinto's response to UANI.
Click here to read the full text of UANI's original letter to Rio Tinto.
Click here to call on Rio Tinto to end its dealings with Iran.
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