In New Letter, UANI Responds to MTN’s Recent Defense of its Work in Iran
New York, NY – On Monday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) called on the South African telecommunications firm MTN to pull out of Iran, and for investors and institutions to divest themselves of business with MTN unless it ends its partnership with the Iranian regime. UANI is continuing its MTN campaign, after MTN sent UANI a letter implausibly claiming that MTN, an actual business partner of the Iranian regime, is “a liberating force for Iranians.”
UANI launched its MTN campaign on January 30, 2012, with a letter and advertisements detailing MTN’s partnership with the Iranian regime. As UANI explained, MTN Irancell is the second largest mobile phone network operator in Iran, and 51% of its shares are owned by the Iranian regime. The regime uses MTN Irancell to monitor and track Iranian dissidents, and MTN reportedly ordered the suspension of text messaging and Skype during protests against the fraudulent Iranian presidential elections in 2009.
In response, MTN sent UANI a letter on February 24 which refuted none of UANI’s information, but stated that MTN is “proud” of its work in Iran and “a liberating force for Iranians.” MTN also stated that it “seeks to ensure that our corporate values of respect for human rights are reflected in the way we do business and we expect all our partners to adhere to these fundamental principles.”
In a February 29 letter to MTN Group President and CEO Sifiso Dabengwa, Ambassador Wallace wrote:
United Against Nuclear Iran (“UANI”) is in receipt of MTN Group Ltd.’s (“MTN”) letter dated February 24, 2012. Unfortunately, MTN’s response is unsatisfactory in its substance and indicates that MTN is seemingly oblivious to the massive human rights crisis currently ongoing in Iran. The letter also fails to address a number of serious issues raised in UANI’s letter of January 25,2012.