UANI Calls on France's NFM to End Business in Iran

March 12, 2013
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296

UANI Calls on France's NFM to End Business in Iran
Provides Tunnel-Boring Machines in Country

New York, NY -On Tuesday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) continued its Tunneling & Construction Campaign by calling on French mechanical engineering firm NFM Technologies SA (NFM) to immediately end its business in Iran. NFM provides tunneling equipment in Iran, and partners with the WPS Group, which is affiliated with Iran's blacklisted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

While NFM's equipment and expertise are intended for civilian projects in Iran, the potential for misuse is high and serious given that tunneling is an essential element used by Iran to hide and protect its nuclear sites.

In a letter sent to NFM CEO Alain Deleard, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:

... NFM currently lists the WPS Group as its representative in Iran. Before being placed "under construction," the WPS website featured an image of a construction site with a welcome sign bearing the logo of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. As you may know, the IRGC is the driving ideological, internal security and military force behind the Iranian regime. Given that the IRGC serves as the caretaker of Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, and that the WPS Group is linked to the IRGC, UANI must conclude that NFM's tunneling equipment has been used to the benefit of the IRGC and the illicit nuclear program it leads.

UANI notes that NFM's tunneling equipment and expertise have ostensibly been used for civilian projects in Iran. For example, four NFM tunnel boring machines have been used in two of Iran's largest civil engineering projects, the Tabriz and Shiraz metro. The Shiraz metro project is highlighted on the NFM website as a reference of its accomplishments. Nevertheless, UANI has a number of serious reservations and concerns with these purported civilian projects. First and foremost is the danger that NFM equipment could be transferred to the IRGC for its own illicit purposes once these projects are completed. As Iran analyst Emanuele Ottolenghi notes, "Once the digging is finished, though, the equipment belongs to the subsidiary businesses of the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps), which can do with them what they wish. Intelligence photographs have regularly indicated that much of Iran's clandestine nuclear program is being built deep underground, in bunkers accessible by means of tunnels." UANI is concerned that a clear distinction between the civilian and military use of NFM equipment is impossible under these circumstances. ... 

UANI has proposed model legislation for adoption by the U.S. Congress that would specifically sanction the exportation of equipment and technology to Iran for the development and production of tunnels and related facilities.

UANI has requested a response from NFM by March 15, 2013.

Click here to read UANI's full letter to NFM.
Click here to send a message to NFM.
Click here to learn more about UANI's Tunneling & Construction Campaign.
Click here to read UANI's model tunneling legislation, the "SPIRIT Act."