FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI, NYC Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, Iran180 Launch IranWatchList.com
New Website Unveiled Prior to Next Week's New York City Auto Show
New York, NY - Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and Iran180 joined New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at a Manhattan press conference, to announce the launch of a new website, IranWatchList.com, and a corresponding consumer action campaign to pressure companies that do business in Iran.
The campaign's first targets are 12 carmakers that continue to sell vehicles in Iran--including to Iran's military--despite the latest round of economic sanctions. Many of these companies will promote themselves at the New York Auto Show, beginning next week.
The 12 automakers displayed in the Watch List's "Virtual Showroom" are Fiat, Isuzu, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Suzuki, Toyota and Volvo. Combined, they sell more than 650,000 vehicles per year in the country--making it the second-largest sector of Iran's economy. Despite escalating sanctions, the automotive sector in Iran continues to grow in large part due to these companies' investments.
Said UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace:
We applaud the Public Advocate for informing NYC consumers that some of the car companies vying for their dollars are doing irresponsible business with the Iranian regime. These automakers are regrettably supporting the regime by serving as a massive source of revenue, and as a means for it to access advanced technologies and products for its military and security forces.
It is time for foreign auto companies to stop enriching the regime and empowering its agents of repression and terrorism. Automakers must end their Iran business now.
UANI has regularly led campaigns to compel automakers to leave Iran including against Karsan, Nissan,Fiat, Mazda, Peugeot and GM. After extensive discussions with UANI, Karsan agreed to end its Iran business.
Additionally, UANI has developed model legislation, The DRIVE Act, to force auto manufacturers to choose between American taxpayers and the regime. The DRIVE Act requires automakers to certify they are not engaged in any business in Iran, or engaged in the implementation of any agreement with Iranian entities in order to be eligible for U.S. government contracts or financial assistance.
The Iranian auto industry is dominated by the regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is a notorious misuser of Western technology, using vehicles imported or license-built by Volvo, Iveco (Fiat), Mercedes (Daimler) and Toyota as mobile platforms to stage public executions or transport ballistic missiles. Honda and Suzuki motorcycles are used by Basij militia.
Iran's two largest automakers, the Iran Khodro Group and the Saipa Group, are both subsidiaries of the Iranian Development and Renovation Organization (IDRO), an entity sanctioned by both the U.S. and EU. Additionally, Iran's third largest auto-manufacturer, the Bahman Group, is 45.5% owned by the IRGC.
Through IranWatchList.com, visitors can contact the companies using social media. UANI has sent letters to a number of these auto companies, calling on them to sign an "Iran Business Declaration" to immediately cease their operations in Iran.