NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some local leaders held a news conference outside of Maserati’s Tribeca showroom Monday afternoon over the Italian car maker’s continued ties with Iran.
The luxury automaker plans to open its new dealership in the Iranian capital of Tehran soon.
WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, speaking at the news conference, said Maserati must cut ties with Iran.
“We’ve had some success convincing companies to move out of Iran but, shockingly, Maserati is going in the opposite direction,” de Blasio told reporters including WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman.
“We identified both Maserati and Lamborghini as two companies actually having increased their role in Iran. So far, Volvo, Porsche, Fiat, Hyundai have all left Iran but major companies remain,” said de Blasio.
Others noted Kia has also recently left Iran.
De Blasio said the first objective is to inform the public about Maserati’s business ties to Iran.
“We as the global community have to stand as one. We can’t have some companies going around the rules profiting while propping up the Iranian regime in the process,” de Blasio told 1010 WINS. “Make it harder for them to do business in Iran. Once their consumers around the world understand this information, I guarantee you a lot of the consumers will take their business elsewhere. People all over the world understand what a threat Iran is so I think there’s going to be real economic consequences for these companies.”
The group that gathered outside the Manhattan showroom said half of Maserati’s business is done in the U.S.
“It sends exactly the wrong message,” former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Mark Wallace said. “For Maserati to end its business in Iran, it sends a message directly to the regime elites. They must choose between a functioning economy and a nuclear weapon.”
Iran has contended its nuclear program is peaceful and that it is not seeking to build a nuclear weapon.
Groups affiliated with the ‘Iran Watchlist’ campaign spoke out at the news conference.
“I hope that I’m reading news in the next couple weeks about a Maserati dealership closing,” said Chris DeVito, director of the group Iran180. “I hope it’s in Tehran but if it’s not, I hope it’s here in New York.”
DeVito called the ongoing relationship with Iran ‘truly unconscionable’ on the part of the Italian car manufacturer.
‘Iran Watchlist’ is an initiative of the public advocate’s office in conjunction with United Against Nuclear Iran and Iran180, according to the group’s website. The initiative urges the public to tell the auto industry to ‘can Iran.’
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