UANI Warns Czech Companies of Significant Business Risks on Eve of Iranian Foreign Minister's Visit

November 10, 2016
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UANI Warns Czech Companies of Significant Business Risks on Eve of Iranian Foreign Minister's Visit

Major Companies like CSOB and Skoda Have Expressed Interest in Pursuing or Expanding Business in Iran

New York, NY - Ahead of an official visit on November 11 by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and an accompanying business delegation, global advocacy organization United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) issued a warning to Czech companies interested in pursuing business deals with Iran.

"As Iranian delegations continue their attempts to draw in new business around the world, Eastern European companies must remain vigilant and attuned to the commercial risks that so blatantly continue to plague Iran," said former Foreign Minister of Poland and UANI Advisory Board member Radosław Sikorski. "No potential business is worth the consequences of working with a brutal regime that refuses to change and continues to sponsor terrorism, engage in illicit financial activity, and commit egregious human rights abuses."

UANI is currently spearheading a worldwide campaign, alerting businesses across six continents and a multitude of economic sectors of the many severe risks they face in any business relationship with Tehran. Two Czech companies have been identified as part of this campaign: Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka (CSOB) and Volkswagen-owned Skoda Auto. UANI has corresponded with both companies, sending letters to the CEOs and Board chairmen outlining the components of its Iran Business Risk Matrix. CSOB has announced that its portfolio with Iranian banks is "gradually expanding," while Skoda is "linking up with local partners" in Iran to increase exports of its automobiles. The financial and automotive sectors are two of the riskiest industries identified in UANI's global campaign.

Some of the risks outlined in the letters include:

  • Inadvertently supporting state-sponsored terrorism: In a recent report, the U.S. State Department found Iran to be the leading state-sponsor of terror worldwide. By engaging in business activities in or with Iran, foreign companies face the risk of blood on their hands - with funds, technology, or equipment often being misappropriated to support a range of terrorist activities around the world.
  • Banking & money laundering risk: Iranian financial institutions remain locked out of the U.S. financial system, and therefore cut off from much of the global financial system. Harsh penalties remain for those institutions that directly or indirectly facilitate prohibited transactions. 
  • Supporting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) front companies: Doing business in Iran means dealing with businesses that are covertly managed or owned by the IRGC, a terrorist organization which is sanctioned by the United States and international community. The IRGC largely dominate - and profit from - the automobile and banking industries in Iran.

In addition to CSOB and Skoda, UANI has written to the following Czech companies: Ceska Sporitelna, Mavel, Inekon Group, UNIS, Tatra Trucks, AZD Praha, and SOR Libchavy.

Media interested in speaking with former Minister Sikorski, or to request copies of the letters sent to Czech companies, please contact: [email protected]