An increasingly vocal anti-nuclear lobby group in the US says it is not singling out Nissan in its vociferous campaign this week at the New York Motor Show highlighting 12 automakers with dealings in Iran.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is mounting a high-profile series of appearances at the show, where it is targeting 12 manufacturers including Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, Fiat and Peugeot, but insists all producers will be treated the same.

The issue has stormed to the top of US and European agendas this week with the news PSA Peugeot Citroen and Hyundai have suspended operations in Iran following the imposition of tough sanctions, including a freeze on assets held by the Central Bank of Iran. 

"Nissan has been prominent because they have won a contract to manufacture the New York City taxi [NV200]," a UANI spokesman told just-auto from New York. "That is why we are focusing on them, but we are not trying to say they are more responsible than the other 11 companies."

UANI says it is also reserving judgement on this week's news that PSA is to suspend its huge business dealing in Iran, worth 1.5% of its US$79bn annual turnover. The French manufacturer told just-auto it was due to review its position in Iran on a month-by-month basis that has seen it drop its supply of parts to Iran Khodro (IKCO) for the 206 and 405 models.

However, PSA's situation has been complicated by its recent announcement of an alliance with General Motors, although Detroit maintains its French partner's decision to temporarily drop component supply to IKCO, was made before the partnership decision.

Nonetheless, UANI claims GM "owes it to its investors and customers to compel Peugeot" to end its business in Iran, highlighting the US$50bn taxpayer bailout of the US automaker.

"By doing business directly with the Iranian regime, Peugeot supports the regime's ability to develop its illegal nuclear weapons programme, support terrorist proxies and repress the Iranian people," said UANI, adding the alliance should be investigated by Congress to see if it fell foul of sanctions.

One of UANI's more extraordinary claims is IKCO is controlled by the Iranian regime and affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but when pressed as to the possible effect on ordinary Iranians working for the automaker should sanctions bite further, the anti-nuclear body was unapologetic.

"What is most important to our organisation is defending the freedoms of the Iranian people," the UANI spokesman told just-auto. "Our quarrel is with the regime that brutally oppresses the Iranian people - the Revolutionary Guard has taken over the economy.

"I don't think it is controversial to believe Iran needs to be sanctioned right now. That is something President Obama believes. I don't want to get into a debate about the morality of sanctions - the international community has judged that."

The full list of automakers UANI is targeting is: Isuzu; Volvo; Peugeot; Mazda; Toyota; Porsche; Fiat; Kia; Suzuki; Mitsubishi; Renault and Nissan.

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