Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eye on Iran: Maserati, Lamborghini Withdraw Business From Iran

For continuing coverage follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook group.
Top Stories

Algemeiner: "Both Maserati and Lamborghini will no longer do business in Iran The Algemeiner has learned. The announcement comes following a campaign by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) aimed at pressuring the two car makers into halting their activities in the country. The campaign appeared futile until an October press conference held by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, CEO of United Against Nuclear Iran, and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. 'We weren't trying to just embarrass anyone. We sent several letters to both companies asking them about their business in Iran and they just didn't write back,' UANI spokesman Nathan Carleton, speaking of the press conference, told The Algemeiner. The public appeal seems to have worked. 'After the event we were immediately contacted by Lamborghini. They told us they were out, they weren't doing any business in Iran anymore. We're happy with that,' Carleton said. A meeting with representatives from Maserati soon followed. During the meeting Maserati insisted its dealings in Iran had concluded after its parent company, Fiat, announced in May that it no longer had a presence in the Islamic Republic... Ambassador Wallace sent this statement on the affirmations from the car companies: 'We are satisfied with the pledges we have received from both Lamborghini and Maserati, and we applaud both for their responsible action. This campaign proved once again that when a company is forced to choose between the Iranian market and the U.S. market, it will leave Iran. We will continue to work with the Public Advocate, to pressure more and more businesses to pull out of Iran and continue isolating the Iranian regime.'"

Bloomberg: "Deutsche Boerse AG said U.S. regulators may fine its Clearstream settlement unit as much as $340 million over possible violations of sanctions against Iran.  Clearstream has started talks on a deal with the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control related to securities transfers within its settlement system in 2008, the Frankfurt-based exchange said in a statement today. Deutsche Boerse shares rose 0.2 percent to 47.03 euros at the close of trading in Frankfurt. Standard Chartered Plc agreed to pay $327 million in fines last month, including $132 million to OFAC, after regulators said it violated U.S. sanctions with Iran. Britain's second- largest bank by market value was accused of helping Iran launder about $250 billion in violation of federal laws, keeping false records and handling wire transfers for Iranian clients."

AP: "President Barack Obama's pick for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, is meeting with senior Pentagon staff to try to set the record straight about his stand on Iran, saying he backs strong international sanctions against Tehran and believes all options, including military action, should be on the table, defense officials said Wednesday. In private meetings with top military and defense leaders and staff this week, Hagel sought to counter critics who say he is soft on Iran and would be the most antagonistic secretary toward Israel. Senior defense officials who have met with Hagel said he told them that his views on Iran have been misrepresented and that he has long backed international sanctions... Critics have zeroed in on statements Hagel has made questioning the wisdom of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran. As a senator, he voted against unilateral economic sanctions on Tehran, although he supports the joint international penalties Obama also prefers."
MTN Banner 
Nuclear Program & Sanctions

Guardian: "The much-awaited new round of diplomacy over Iran's nuclear programme will have to be awaited a while longer. Tehran has declared itself ready for talks this month, but the office of the EU foreign affairs chief, Cathy Ashton, whose job it is to arrange the negotiations, has yet to get a clear Iranian response to its suggestion of a mid-January meeting in Istanbul. That timetable, diplomats say, is now likely to be pushed back. Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann, issued a statement saying only: 'Contacts are still ongoing. No decision has been taken. We have offered dates and venue in January and are still expecting an Iranian reaction to it.' Western diplomats point to disagreements at the top of the Tehran leadership over the wisdom of entering new talks as the most likely reason for the delay and mixed messages. It is not hard, however, to imagine reasons for Iranian ambivalence. The Obama administration has only recently announced its new picks for secretaries of state and defence, and they have yet to be confirmed by the Senate."

AP: "Australia has expanded sanctions against Iran amid growing concerns over the country's suspected nuclear weapons program. Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement Thursday that the new sanctions affect the financial, trade, energy and transport sectors. Car said: 'These sanctions further increase pressure on Iran to comply with its nuclear non-proliferation obligations and with U.N. Security Council resolutions and to engage in serious negotiations on its nuclear program.' He said the new measures are broadly aligned with those introduced by the European Union and other countries."

Reuters: "Iran has changed the pricing of its term exports of South Pars condensate to China's top refiner, Sinopec Corp, this year, effectively raising the premium on sales of the super light crude to its top client, Chinese industry sources said... Officials said the change was agreed between the National Iranian Oil Company and Sinopec last year and takes effect from 2013. The change has led several Sinopec plants to moderately reduce their contracted amounts for this year, though it was not immediately known by how much. Last year, Sinopec was contracted to lift about 70,000 barrels a day. Condensate forms a small part of Sinopec's Iranian oil imports, but its purchases from the Middle Eastern country last year are estimated to have been worth about $2.5 billion. The Chinese refiner, the world's largest processor of Iranian crude oil, was contracted to buy about 430,000 bpd of Iranian oil last year."

AFP: "Turkey has for several days been holding a cargo plane en route from the United Arab Emirates to Iran after its crew refused to document its load, a customs ministry official told AFP on Wednesday. 'The plane owned by a Turkish company had to make an emergency landing at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport due to technical reasons,' the official said on condition of anonymity. 'The company has to document its cargo at our customs until 1000 GMT today (Wednesday), for security purposes otherwise we'll do what's necessary,' he added, without elaborating. The official said that Turkish authorities would have the right to check the plane's cargo if the company refused to reveal the items on board. 'It is most probably carrying gold,' he speculated."

Syrian Uprising

"Syria agreed to release more than 2,000 prisoners in exchange for 48 Iranians held by Syrian rebels, in a deal that highlighted Iran's sustained influence over the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The deal, brokered with the help of Turkey and Qatar after months of negotiation, marks the largest prisoner swap since the Syrian uprising began nearly 21 months ago, though no Syrian government forces were released. The 48 Iranians were taken hostage in August while traveling to the Damascus airport for a flight to Tehran. They were in Syria as a part of a delegation from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and its paramilitary Basij militia, according to people familiar with their mission and the rebel brigade that seized them. Iran at first said the men were civilian pilgrims, but later said many were retired Guards. 'The fact that Assad at this moment would agree to this exchange shows how indebted and deeply dependent he is on Iran's support,' said Nader Hashemi, an Iran expert and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver."

Foreign Affairs

WashTimes: "State Department officials this week said they will develop for Congress an assessment of Iranian-related threats in Central and South America, as required by a new law. 'Iran has serially defied the will of the international community and is a state sponsor of terrorism,' State Department spokesman Peter Velasco told The Washington Times. 'We are fully aware that its presence in the [Western] hemisphere could have implications for our security and that of our neighbors.' President Obama signed the 'Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act' into law on Dec. 28... Mr. Velasco said department officials 'are in the process of reviewing the law and its requirements' and 'will develop an implementation plan that is consistent with the law and our foreign policy objectives in the region.'"

Human Rights

AP: "Iranian police have arrested five members of an underground band suspected of producing music for Farsi-speaking, dissident satellite channels based in the U.S. The semiofficial Fars news agency quotes senior police official Col. Sadeq Rezadoost as saying the band was producing songs for Los Angeles-based Iranian singers and providing videos to Farsi-speaking, dissident TV channels."

Domestic Politics

Bloomberg: "Iran's next elected president must follow the 'ideals' of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and avoid questioning the Islamic republic's foundation, said a senior member of the country's Revolutionary Guard Corps. 'In the elections we must make the right pick and choose someone who won't question the regime,' Khamenei's representative to the guards, Ali Saeedi, was quoted as saying in a report today by the state-run Mehr news agency. 'The president must follow the ideals and goals of the supreme leader and have values, and not let position or pressure change him,' Saeedi said in a speech yesterday. The comments seem aimed at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has challenged Khamenei's authority ever since his 2009 re- election amid widespread protests over voter fraud allegations."

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is 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.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

No comments:

Post a Comment