FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Calls on Mazda to End Iran Business as Part of IRGC Campaign
New York, NY- On Monday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) to end its ongoing business activities in Iran as part of its IRGC Campaign. The purpose of UANI's IRGC Campaign is to identify companies and entities that are owned, operated or controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. (IRGC) -- the driving ideological, security and military force behind the Iranian regime -- and to highlight the relationships between those dangerous entities and multinational corporations.
Mazda is tied to the IRGC through its long-standing partnership with the Bahman Group (Bahman), a Tehran-based manufacturing conglomerate that is licensed to manufacture and assemble Mazda vehicles. Bahman is 45.5 percent owned by the IRGC's Sepah Cooperative Foundation. In 2010, according to the Iran Vehicle Manufacturer Association, Bahman produced a total of 36,891 Mazda vehicles in Iran.
UANI is calling on Mazda to cease its business with the IRGC, considering the IRGC's major role in Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and in suppressing Iran's internal pro-democracy movement. Automakers such as Mazda that receive federal government contracts should certify with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that they are not engaged in business in Iran, or engaged in the implementation of any agreement with Iranian entities.
In a March 15, 2012 letter to Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi, UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace wrote:
By collaborating with the Bahman Group, Mazda is supporting the IRGC and its ability to pursue weapons of mass destruction and sponsor terrorist acts around the globe. In 2010, a Mazda spokesman claimed Mazda was unaware that Bahman is linked to the IRGC. Mazda can no longer hide behind this veil of ignorance. It is time for Mazda to end its relationship with the Bahman Group and pull out of Iran.
The urgency of this matter is heightened by the fact that Mazda is also the recipient of lucrative federal contracts from the U.S. government. According to The New York Times, between 2000 and 2010, Mazda received approximately $2.4 billion in U.S. federal contracts and grants. (The New York Times,"Profiting From Iran, and the U.S.," 3/12/2010) Companies doing business that supports Iran's nuclear weapons program have been the subject of a number of sanctions adopted by the U.S. Congress. Two years ago, for example, the United States passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, whichspecifically calls for the U.S. government to refuse to award contracts to companies doing business with entities, particularly the IRGC, that support Iran's nuclear and other WMD programs. Pending U.S. legislation, including the Iran Threat Reduction Act, would levy sanctions against any company worldwide such as Mazda that does business with any subsidiary or affiliate of the IRGC, like the Bahman Group.
UANI has requested a response by March 26, 2012.