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Is Fiat Complicit in Arming a Nuclear Iran?

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United Against Nuclear Iran is calling for a protest against Fiat at the New York International Auto Show, which begins this Friday.

According to the UANI website, "United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) organization. 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."

Their problem with Fiat?

Well, it seems that the automaker has gotten tangled up in a, shall we say, "situation" over in the land of halvah and summary beheadings.

The group quotes a January piece in the Wall Street Journal (NWS) by Giulio Meotti, who writes:

When it comes to appeasing the Islamic Republic, no other Western nation has stooped lower than Italy. Amid the international outrage over the Iranian regime's brutalization of its own people, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini warned Europe "must not burn every bridge because Iran is a key figure" in the region.

Italy being Iran's "most important trade partner," there are, according to Meotti, "about 1,000 Italian companies [currently] active in Iran," not least of which is Fiat subsidiary Iveco.

Meotti explains:

The truck maker has since the early 1990s delivered thousands of vehicles to Iran and boasts on its Web site about its joint-venture assembly line in Iran. The problem is that some of these trucks...can also be used to transport Iranian missiles.

Maurizio Pignata, director of Iveco's press office, "assured" Meotti that the company's "vehicles, like the ones in the photograph with missiles in Tehran, are always sold for civilian purposes" and that Iveco "can't know the ulterior exploit of our vehicles. The photograph of the truck with Iranian rockets shows normal Iveco vehicles converted for different goals. In China they used our vehicles for public executions of prisoners. So we can't know if our trucks are used in Iran for military or repressive purposes."

Of course they can't. They just sell them the equipment, right? The ultimate use is out of their hands, no?

Well, the Italians haven't been quite as laissez-faire about "the ulterior exploit" of certain other products manufactured in-country.

When US drug manufacturer Hospira (HSP) ran up against a supply issue with the active ingredient in sodium thiopental -- an anesthetic use in lethal injections -- it decided to move production of the drug (which, Hospira says, is used in legitimate medical procedures other than executions) from its plant in North Carolina to a plant in Italy.

But, says LiveScience, "Italian authorities objected to the drug's use in executions and insisted that Hospira prevent the drug's use in capital punishment. (Italy does not allow the death penalty.)"

Since Hospira sold the drug primarily to wholesalers, it would have no way of controlling its end-use. So the firm had no choice but to shut production down.

"Based on this understanding, we cannot take the risk that we will be held liable by the Italian authorities if the product is diverted for use in capital punishment," Hospira said in a statement. "Exposing our employees or facilities to liability is not a risk we are prepared to take."

Because of this, "Oklahoma inmate John David Duty became the first person in the United States whose execution involved pentobarbital, a drug usually used to euthanize animals."

While we're on the subject of executions, UANI has discovered the Ahmadinejad regime "misusing" other civilian vehicles:

"One of the Iranian regime's preferred methods of execution is public hanging from a construction crane," UANI writes. "As Iran sets a blistering pace of executions in the first months of 2011 (the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has said the regime is on an 'execution binge'), this abhorrent method of public execution and the companies that facilitate it deserve attention. Since the New Year, according to the International Campaign For Abolishing the Death Penalty in Iran, more than 132 executions have taken place.

The companies UANI has called out for supplying cranes to Iran and "directly aiding the regime in its cruel persecution of dissidents and other innocents" are:

  • Tadano (Japan)
  • UNIC (Japan)
  • Liebherr (Germany)
  • Cargotec (Finland)
  • Manitowac (US)
  • Konecranes (Finland)
  • XCMG (China)
  • Kobelco (Japan)
  • Zoomlion (China)
  • Gottwald (Germany)

"Crane hangings are an especially slow and painful method of execution," UANI says. "In Iran, offenses that carry the death penalty include homosexuality, adultery, and 'enmity against God.' Fair trials for these offenses are unheard of."

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