Risky Business: UANI Pressure Campaign Results in Cancelled Iran Business Forum

Following UANI Engagement, Pro-Iran Business Forum in Berlin Will Not Take Place

Following a series of engagements with United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), the C5 group of London cancelled the Iran Trade & Investment Forum, which was scheduled to take place this year on January 22 and 23 in Berlin. The forum had been marketed as an opportunity to “capitalize on the wealth of available opportunities in [the Iranian] market, whilst developing a robust legal and compliance framework” and would have followed similar events held in 2017 and 2018. 

C5’s cancellation comes as leaders of the European Union (EU) facilitate the creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV), “INSTEX,” designed to allow businesses to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran. The SPV has been derided as unnecessary and a security risk, especially as European businesses have shown that there is no appetite for doing business in Iran.

C5’s webpage on the Iran Trade & Investment Forum, prior (left) and after (right) its cancellation.

C5’s webpage on the Iran Trade & Investment Forum, prior (left) and after (right) its cancellation.

“Any business that chooses to engage with Iran is knowingly boosting the economy of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and undermining U.S. national security strategy,” said UANI CEO Mark D. Wallace. “We are pleased that C5 decided to cancel this year’s Iran Trade & Investment Forum and urge the firm to refrain from planning any similar events in the future. Maximum economic pressure on Iran must be maintained and UANI will continue its work to achieve it.”

In past years, UANI successfully persuaded individual companies to withdraw from the forum. In 2017, Italian insurance giant Generali wrote to Ambassador Wallace that it had “reconsidered the decision to speak at the [1st] Forum” after hearing from UANI. Prior to the second forum in January 2018, Ambassador Wallace spoke directly with C5, explaining Iran’s status as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. UANI and Ambassador Wallace protested again in December 2018, at which time the third forum, due to take place in January 2019, was canceled. 

“Engaging with Iranian entities only leads companies to be cheated, misled, and reputationally and irreparably harmed. In 2018, Norwegian shipper Skaugen reported to UANI that its Iranian customers simply refused to pay. Not surprisingly, they stopped making calls to any Iranian ports,” said Wallace.  “UANI will continue to advocate that companies around the globe cut ties with the Iranian regime or preferably never create them in the first place.”