FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2014
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Calls on France's Veolia to Forgo Business in Iran
Major Recipient of U.S. Defense Contracts Reportedly Visited Tehran as Part of French Trade Mission
New York, NY - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) continued its France Campaign by calling on the utilities firm Veolia Environnement SA (Veolia) to certify that it will not initiate any Iran business activities.
Veolia reportedly participated in a French trade mission to Tehran this year to explore new business opportunities following the implementation of the interim nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran.
Such apparent interest in expanding Iran business is both premature and ill-advised. As President Barack Obama stated in a press conference with French President Francois Hollande this year, 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."
Veolia has an enormous presence throughout the United States and has benefited from vast U.S. federal government contracts totaling over $180 million since 2000, primarily from the U.S. Department of Defense.
In a letter sent to Veolia CEO Antoine Frérot, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace wrote:
... Notwithstanding the terms of the JPA, there remain severe reputational, financial and legal risks associated with Iran business. In light of such risks it should be clear to all responsible companies that Iran is not open for business. Accordingly, UANI calls on Veolia to immediately cease all of its Iran business activities.
Veolia's apparent interest in expanding its Iran business is both premature and ill-advised. As clearly indicated in numerous statements issued by U.S. and EU officials, the JPA 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 engineering sector is 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 this sector 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. ...
UANI's France Campaign tracks French companies that are exploring the Iranian market following the signing and implementation of the Geneva interim agreement.
On February 20, UANI applauded France's Safran for pledging to forgo business with Iran in response to calls from UANI. Safran stated that it agrees with UANI that "the vast majority of EU and U.S. sanctions against Iran remains in place and will continue to be enforced." Continued Safran: "It is the reason why Safran confirmed at this stage to continue to have no business with Iranian customers."