By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Is Jennifer Lopez the long-sought solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis? And can she improve the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic? We shouldn't discount the power of music and some Latin hip shaking, but one U.S.-based advocacy group has something else in mind.
Jennifer Lopez In Gucci Fiat 500 Commercial
United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a group that says it is working to prevent Iran from "fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons" -- a charge Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected.
It has now called on Jennifer Lopez to end her partnership with the car manufacturer Fiat, if the company refuses to terminate its business with Iran.
UANI claims a Fiat subsidiary, Iveco, sells and distributes trucks in Iran, which the group says have been used by the regime to transport ballistic missiles and stage public executions.
UANI also says Fiat is reportedly planning to expand its presence in Iran by opening a luxury Maserati dealership in Tehran.
The group launched its campaign against Fiat last year and called on the company to end its business in Iran.
Fiat has apparently not been listening, with the group now turning to the pop diva to use her influence.
Jennifer Lopez - Fiat Commercial (Papi trailer)
In a letter, UANI's president has asked Lopez, the face of Fiat, to either use her position to make the carmaker change its "irresponsible" policies toward Iran or cut her ties to the company.
"[B]y endorsing Fiat, you are serving as spokesperson for a company that freely does business with a regime that is developing an illegal nuclear weapons program, financing and sponsoring terrorist groups including Al-Qaeda, has killed American and NATO soldiers and is recognized as one of the world's leading human rights violators," the letter says, before making the following plea:
The singer has not yet publicly responded to the letter.
"Political dissidents, human rights activists, labor leaders, women, ethnic and religious minorities, homosexuals and students in Iran are routinely detained incommunicado and beaten, raped, lashed and subjected to inhumane forms of physical and psychological torture.
"According to an October 2011 United Nations report, there are at least 100 juveniles on death row in Iran. The same United Nations report states that at least 300 executions were carried out in secret in Iran in 2010 alone. These executions are often cruel and unusual and include public hangings by construction cranes and stoning.
"A Fiat subsidiary, Iveco, produces vehicles that are reportedly used by the Iranian regime as platforms to stage such gruesome public executions. It is doubtful that you would want your name or image even remotely associated with a company involved in such actions."
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