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US lobby group calls for French auto giant Renault to pull out of Iran

Reuters/Valentin Flauraud

A pressure group in the US has called on French automobile giant Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan to withdraw from Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. 


In a letter to the head of Renault-Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, United Against Nuclear Iran, UANI, claims “Renault’s activities in Iran are directly helping the Iranian regime to develop its illegal nuclear arms programme, support terrorism and brutally repress the Iranian people.”

Renault is the second most prolific foreign carmaker in Iran. And the company’s Iranian partners include the Industrial Development and Renovation Organisation of Iran, IDRO, a regime-controlled entity which has already been blacklisted by the US, UK and the European Union for its alleged involvement in a range of nuclear and military activities.

The group also described as “worrying” the news that Nissan is expected to receive around one billion US dollars as part of New York City’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” programme.

“New York taxpayer dollars should not benefit a corporation like Nissan that partners with a regime that is the world’s number one state sponsor of terror and has formed an alliance with al-Qaeda,” said UANI.

Other carmakers such as South Korea’s Hyundai, have already pulled production out of the country, but Renault has almost doubled the number of cars manufactured in Iran from 50,000 in 2010 to 93,578 in 2011.

Last week, following news that US automaker General Motors had acquired a 7 per cent stake in another French carmaker, Peugeot, the group called on GM to compel the French company to end business dealings with Iran.

UANI claims to be “a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons."

Its advisory board includes James Woolsey, a former CIA director,Mike Gerson, a former spokesperson for President Bush and Dennis Ross, who served as a senior adviser on Middle East issues in the Barack Obama administration’s National Security Council until his resignation late 2011.


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