FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2014
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Calls on France's Safran to Forgo Business in Iran
Conglomerate was Part of French Trade Delegation that Recently Visited Tehran
New York, NY - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) continued its France Campaign by calling on French aerospace, defense, and security conglomerate Safran SA to clarify the purpose of its recent reported visit to Iran, and certify that it will not initiate any Iran business activities.
This month, Safran reportedly participated in a three-day French trade mission to Tehran to explore new business opportunities following the P5+1 and Iran's interim nuclear deal. The delegation reportedly met with Mohammad Nahavandian, President Rouhani's chief of staff, as well as members of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
Safran's interest in expanding its Iran business is both premature and ill-advised. As President Barack Obama said in remarks with French President Francois Hollande last week, businesses "exploring" the Iranian market "do so at their own peril right now, because we will come down on them like a ton of bricks."
Added President Hollande: "As far as sanctions are concerned, they will only be lifted if and when there is a definite agreement. And during this period of an interim agreement, they remain in force."
Safran and its subsidiaries have reportedly benefited from more than $2 billion in U.S. government contracts since 2000, mostly with the Department of Homeland Security. In December 2013, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) awarded Safran's security unit Morpho a five-year contract for its explosives detection systemworth as much as $133 million.
In a letter sent to Safran CEO, Jean-Paul Herteman, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
... As clearly indicated in numerous statements issued by U.S. and EU officials, the JPA [Joint Plan of Action interim agreement] in no way gives a green light for companies to enter or re-enter the Iranian market. Simply put, Iran is not "open for business."
Furthermore, as you may know, Iran's aviation and engineering sectors are dominated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ("IRGC") - the sanctioned caretaker of Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, and the main instrument used in Iran's domestic repression and global terrorist activities. The IRGC widely operates in these sectors through its engineering arm, Khatam al-Anbiya, which is also blacklisted by the EU, the U.S. and the United Nations. Surely, the risks associated with potential (even inadvertent) partnership with the IRGC and IRGC-affiliated entities are much too great for any responsible and law-abiding company.
... [A]ccording to its website, "Safran has a significant physical presence in the United States, comprised of 32 companies and joint ventures operating across 58 locations in 22 states," and its "largest end-user is the U.S. Department of Defense."...
UANI's France Campaign tracks French companies that are exploring the Iranian market following the implementation of the Geneva interim agreement. Notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, there remain severe reputational, financial and legal risks associated with Iran business.