FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2014
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Launches Austria Trade Delegation Campaign, Calls on AVL to Forgo Business in Iran
New York, NY - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) resumed its Trade Delegation Campaign with a new focus on Austria, by calling on Austrian automotive firm AVL List GmbH (AVL) to forgo business in Iran.
According to multiple reports, AVL was part of an Austrian trade delegation that went to Tehran in December following the signing of the interim nuclear deal by the P5+1 and Iran. The delegation reportedly met with Seyyed Mehdi Mir-Abutalebi, the deputy head of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran.
The Austrian Chamber of Commerce is also hosting a seminar today to educate companies about doing business in Iran.
Reentry into the Iranian market by Austrian firms such as AVL would be ill-advised and premature. As President Barack Obama stated this month, 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."
AVL maintains a significant U.S. presence, including two facilities in Plymouth, Michigan.
In letter to AVL Chairman and CEO Helmut O. List, 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. ... AVL'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."
AVL should also be mindful of the potentially damaging reputational risks associated with Iran business activities. U.S. officials, including Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs Wendy Sherman, have issued stern warnings to firms about such risks. In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Undersecretary Sherman stated, "We have told them all that they are putting their reputations, themselves, and their business, [their] business enterprises, at risk if they jump the gun."
UANI is also cognizant of AVL's significant U.S. presence. AVL maintains two facilities in Plymouth, Michigan, AVL North America, Inc. and AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. AVL has also benefited
from large U.S. government contracts, amounting to nearly $15 million since 2000. In 2012, AVL was awarded a $4.9 million contract from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center for the design and construction of the Next-Generation Combat Engine.
Notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, there remain severe reputational, financial and legal risks associated with Iran business.
Click here to read UANI's full letter to AVL.
Click here to send a message to AVL.
Click here to learn more about UANI's Austria Trade Delegation Campaign.
Click here to learn more about UANI's France Trade Delegation Campaign.