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UANI Calls on France’s Alcatel to End Business in Iran

Companies mentioned in this article: United Against Nuclear Iran

NEW YORK -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) launched its France Campaign by calling on telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent SA (Alcatel) to cease its current business—and its exploration of new business—in Iran.

In its latest annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Alcatel disclosed its ongoing Iran business. This month, Alcatel reportedly participated in a three-day French trade mission to Tehran to explore new business opportunities following the P5+1 and Iran’s interim nuclear deal. The delegation reportedly met with Mohammad Nahavandian, President Rouhani’s chief of staff, as well as members of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

Alcatel’s interest in expanding its Iran business is both premature and ill-advised. As President Obama said in remarks with French President Francois Hollande yesterday, 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.”

Added President Hollande: “As far as sanctions are concerned, they will only be lifted if and when there is a definite agreement. And during this period of an interim agreement, they remain in force.”

Alcatel maintains a robust U.S. presence, including a listing on the New York Stock Exchange and a recent $100 million contract securing it access to the lucrative U.S. 4G mobile telecommunications market. Moreover, Alcatel has benefited from enormous U.S. government contracts totaling approximately $1.2 billion since 2000, more than 90% of which came from the U.S. Department of Defense.

In a letter sent to Alcatel CEO Michel Combes, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace wrote:

... Alcatel’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 [Joint Plan of Action interim agreement] 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.”

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As to specific business and trade activities, UANI wishes to remind Alcatel that the Iranian regime frequently misuses sensitive technology and telecommunications equipment to suppress its own citizens, including by restricting and monitoring Internet and cell-phone services, as well as facilitating the broadcast and dissemination of regime-sponsored propaganda. Firms that provide such goods and services to Iran could be penalized under U.S. sanctions law. … [A]s you may know, Iran’s telecommunications sector is dominated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (“IRGC”) – the sanctioned caretaker of Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, and the main instrument used in Iran’s domestic repression and global terrorist activities. Indeed, “all three mobile operators in Iran are directly or indirectly partners with IRGC-affiliated companies.”) Surely, the risks associated with potential (even inadvertent) partnership with the IRGC and IRGC-affiliated entities are much too great for any responsible and law-abiding company.

UANI is also cognizant of Alcatel’s vast U.S. presence … UANI strongly believes that no company should benefit from access to the world’s largest economy and consumer market while at the same time investing in Iran. …

UANI’s France Campaign tracks French companies that are exploring the Iranian market following the implementation of the Geneva interim agreement. Notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, there remain severe reputational, financial and legal risks associated with Iran business. Accordingly, UANI is calling on French companies to halt Iran business.

UANI has requested a reply from Alcatel by February 14, 2014.

Click here to read UANI’s full letter to Alcatel.
Click here to send a message to Alcatel to end its Iran business.
Click here to learn more about UANI’s France Campaign.
Click here to learn more about UANI’s Tech & Telecom Campaign.


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Contact:

United Against Nuclear Iran
Nathan Carleton, 212-554-3296
press@uani.com