FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Launches MTN Campaign, Calls for End to MTN's Business in Iran
Campaign Includes Facebook and Online Advertisements Highlighting MTN's Work with the Regime
New York, NY - On Monday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)called on South African telecommunications firm MTN to end its business in Iran. UANI's campaign was previewed on Friday by The Wall Street Journal.
UANI has contacted MTN's leadership, and also began online and Facebook advertisements that show Iranian suppression and read "MTN: Monitoring The Nation," and "Suppressing Protesters in Iran since 2009."
MTN Irancell is the second-largest mobile phone network operator in Iran, and the majority of its shares are owned by the Iranian regime, which has exploited MTN's network and technology to monitor and track the activities and communications of peaceful dissidents. MTN Irancell has reportedly shared location data with the regime, and ordered the suspension of text messaging and Skype during protests against the fraudulent Iranian presidential elections in 2009.
In letter to MTN Group President and CEO Sifiso Dabengwa, UANI President, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
While Iran's nuclear and terrorist activities should be reason enough for a corporation to pull out of Iran, the regime's serious human rights abuses should be of particular concern to MTN. As MTN must know, there is ample evidence of Iran using telecommunications equipment to illegally track, monitor, and in some cases arrest, detain and torture Iranian citizens opposed to the current extremist regime. While UANI recognizes that telecommunications firms do not necessarily condone those activities, it is nevertheless a concern to many that corporations such as MTN allow their technology to be used to carry out egregious human rights abuses.
For example, MTN is a 49% shareholder of MTN Irancell, the second largest mobile phone network operator in Iran. The majority 51% is in turn owned by the Iranian regime, which has exploited the network and telecommunication technology of MTN Irancell to monitor and track the activities and communications of peaceful dissidents in Iran.
... it appears that MTN is taking advantage of the fact that responsible corporations are leaving Iran, and eagerly filling the void. MTN must end its irresponsible business practices in Iran and, in particular, its direct collaboration with the Iranian regime. On MTN's own website, the company lists "Democracy, Peace, Equity and Justice" as core values integral to effective corporate governance. (MTN Website) It is time for MTN to apply those principles to its business in Iran, something it cannot do by partnering with one of the world's most brutal and lawless regimes.
As part of its Tech and Telecom campaign, UANI has targeted telecommunications providers that are active in Iran. In December, the Chinese firm Huawei scaled back its business in Iran under pressure from UANI.
UANI has requested a reply from MTN by February 6, 2012.