UANI Calls on Germany's Atlas to Immediately End Business in Iran, Where Its Cranes are Being Used for Public Hangings

February 6, 2014  
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected] 
Phone: (212) 554-3296

UANI Calls on Germany's Atlas to Immediately End Business in Iran, Where Its Cranes are Being Used for Public Hangings
Ongoing Misuse of German Manufacturer's Cranes Demonstrates Need for Responsible Companies to Forego Iran Business

New York, NY - On Thursday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on German construction equipment manufacturer Atlas Maschinen GmbH (Atlas) to immediately end business in Iran. This week, UANI presented Atlas with photographs and reports indicating that its cranes have been recently used for public executions in the country.

[WARNING: The hyperlinks in the below paragraph contain graphic images.]

Atlas is reportedly represented in Iran by the entity Hydro Atlas. On September 14, 2013, an 18 year-old man was reportedly hanged in the Iranian city of Ghaemshahr, in front of onlookers, from an Atlas construction crane.In addition, on October 5, 2013, an Atlas crane was reportedly used in a public execution in the city of Babol.

While there were hopes in some circles that the human rights situation in Iran would improve under new President Hassan Rouhani, there have been more than two executions per day since his inauguration.

As part of its Cranes Campaign, UANI previously wrote to Atlas in March 2013 and November 2013 to express concerns with Atlas's business in Iran. Now, UANI is calling on Atlas to completely leave Iran, and take aggressive, diligent action to stop the Iranian regime from misusing its cranes for such grotesque human rights violations.

In a statement today, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, said:

Lest there be any doubt about the risks for all responsible companies of doing business in Iran, each and every business worldwide that is considering entering the Iran market should look at the morbid pictures of dead Iranians hanging by their necks from Atlas cranes. Iran is not open for business.

In a letter sent yesterday to Atlas Chairman Fil Filipov, Ambassador Wallace wrote:

            ... UANI launched its "Cranes Campaign" in 2011 to highlight the misuse of commercial cranes by the Iranian regime for this grisly and especially slow and painful method of execution. Recent events in Iran appear to only have validated UANI's concern. During September and October 2013, reports show that Atlas cranes were apparently used in two public executions in Iran.

            ... According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, there were 349 executions in Iran in 2013 following Rouhani's August 3 inauguration, including 19 public executions. In the first four weeks of 2014, there have been at least 61 more executions. The rate of executions under Rouhani -- more than two per day -- can justifiably be described as an "execution binge."

Furthermore, as U.S. and EU officials have clearly indicated in numerous statements, the November 24, 2013 Joint Plan of Action interim agreement signed in Geneva, Switzerland in no way gives a green light for companies to operate in Iran: Iran is not "open for business." For example, on December 12, 2013, U.S. Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen stated "we will continue relentlessly to enforce our sanctions, even as we explore the possibility of a long-term, comprehensive resolution of our concerns with Iran's nuclear program..." ...

Atlas is reportedly represented in Iran by the company Hydro Atlas. Given the reported reprehensible misuse of Atlas equipment by the Iranian regime, the only responsible and justifiable course of action for Atlas is to immediately terminate all business activities in Iran. ...

UANI's Cranes Campaign highlights the Iranian regime's record of conducting public executions by crane. Since the campaign was launched in 2011, prominent crane manufacturers Palfinger, Terex, Liebherr, Tadano, Konecranes, and UNIC have ended their business in Iran.

In a 2011 Los Angeles Times op-ed, "Iran's Execution Binge," Ambassador Wallace called on crane manufacturers to "take the principled stand of renouncing their business ties with the regime until Iran becomes a civilized member of the international community."

UANI has requested a response from Atlas by February 15, 2014.

Click here to read UANI's full letter to Atlas. [WARNING: Contains graphic images]
Click here to send a message to Atlas regarding its activities in Iran.
Click here to learn more about UANI's Cranes Campaign.
Click here to view UANI's "Rouhani Accountability Tracker."
Click here to learn more about UANI's Germany Campaign.