Iran Auto Production Down 27% as UANI Blasts Peugeot and Nissan for Ongoing Business with Islamic Revolutionary Guard

The pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) said today that “responsible international auto companies will not continue to work in Iran.” The latest public criticism comes as data show that Iran’s auto industry posted a 27% production decline in April at 53,740 vehicles year-on-year.

The U.S. government is attempting to stop the continuing development of nuclear weapons in Iran; an effort that has so far failed in spite of boycotts , financial sanctions and an impending ban on oil exports  from Iran to the European Union.

The UANI campaign’s most visible targets are global automakers that continue to sell vehicles in Iran – and UANI says to Iran’s military – despite the latest round of economic sanctions from the United States and the EU. The automakers in question hold millions of dollars in contracts from the U.S. Defense Department or other government agencies.

In the view of some, this is a perfect example of the hypocritically bad behavior of global corporations supporting terrorism and repression abroad in the pursuit of profits against the policies of their home governments, whose democratic laws protect them and provide for the well being their stockholders and executives.

The auto industry represents 20% of Iran’s GDP that is dominated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  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.

“We call on all auto manufacturers–including Fiat, Mazda, Nissan, Renault, and Peugeot – to fully end their irresponsible business in Iran. We call on Congress to pass UANI’s DRIVE Act, which would require automakers to certify they are not engaged in any business in Iran to be eligible for U.S. government contracts,” said former U.S. Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the head of UANI, who started his political career under Jeb Bush in Florida.

Wallace was part of the George W. Bush Administration from 1999 to 2003 in a variety of federal government general counsel positions. Wallace was part of the legal team that successfully argued in front of the Supreme Court that the hanging chads fiasco in Florida was valid, a decision that remains controversial or laughable in the view of many.

Last week, Wallace testified about Iran’s auto industry before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. Wallace called out Peugeot and its U.S. collaborator GM, claiming that “Peugeot right now is a major actor in Iran, a major manufacturer inside Iran in direct partnership with the IRGC. In fact, while Peugeot says it suspended its business with Iran until July, Iran produced more than 15,000 Peugeot vehicles in April.”

Numerous queries to Peugeot by AutoInformed have gone unanswered. In its latest holding statement GM said, “We have discussed this issue with Peugeot. We understand that they made the decision to suspend the production and shipment of material into Iran some time ago — before we entered into our alliance with them in fact — and have decided to continue with that suspension. Our agreement with them is fully compliant with U.S. law governing trade with Iran, and is not intended to benefit Iran in any way.”

Wallace also said that when it comes to Nissan, which was recently awarded New York City’s $1 billion “Taxi of Tomorrow” contract, Americans “should be able to use the power of New York’s pocketbook to impress upon Nissan to stop manufacturing automobiles in Iran.”

In March UANI and Iran180 joined New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in announcing the launch of a new website, IranWatchList.com, and a corresponding consumer action campaign to force auto companies doing business in Iran to withdraw.

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About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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