Earlier this year, GM announced a new partner: French automotive giant PSA Peugeot Citroen (Peugeot). While many are still speculating about the financial implications of this trans-Atlantic alliance, there is no doubt that from a foreign policy perspective, it is problematic, and raises numerous questions that GM is unfortunately refusing to answer.
My organization, United Against Nuclear Iran, learned of the GM-Peugeot partnership earlier this year, as well as GM’s subsequent acquisition of a 7 percent share of Peugeot. This concerned us greatly, since Peugeot was actively doing business in Iran — a nation run by a brutal regime that is allied with al-Qaida, has killed dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, plots terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, and is illegally pursing nuclear weapons.
The facts are beyond dispute: Peugeot is partnered with Iran’s Khodro Group, a subsidiary of an entity — IDRO — controlled by the Iranian regime and associated with Iran’s brutal Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Over half a million Peugeot vehicles were sold in Iran in 2010 alone, making Peugeot the leading foreign auto manufacturer produced and sold there. Peugeot has more expatriate employees working in Iran than any other western company.
UANI respectfully raised these concerns in a March 9 letter to GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, asking that GM “use its influence and leverage to compel Peugeot to immediately end its business in Iran.”
“In the event Peugeot does not comply,” we added, “UANI calls on GM to end its partnership with Peugeot.”
In response to UANI, a GM spokesman, Greg Martin, told Agence France-Presse that Peugeot has “halted its business dealings with Iran.” GM also told the Wall Street Journal that Peugeot had “made the decision to suspend the production and shipment of material into Iran some time ago.”
These would ordinarily be welcome and reassuring statements. However they simply do not jibe with reality.
According to industry data, in the last year, ending March 19, nearly half a million Peugeot vehicles were produced in Iran — some 38,000 in the final month alone. On April 15, a report out of the Middle East read, “Iran’s largest carmaker Iran Khodro Company branch in Fars is scheduled to produce 15 thousand Peugeot Pars sedans.” Another, on April 19, said that Peugeot’s Iranian partner “has not yet received any official announcement from Peugeot indicating a halt in their mutual cooperation.”