CODEPINK leaders announce plans for investment in Iranian wind energy company; Hope to defy sanctions and build peaceful relations

December 12th, 2008

Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, 646-723-1781

CODEPINK leaders announce plans for investment in Iranian wind energy company
Hope to defy sanctions and build peaceful relations

WHAT: CODEPINK to lay out plans to invest in Iranian wind energy; "Let's talk!" campaign with Obama
WHEN: Friday, Dec. 12 to Sunday, Dec. 14
WHERE: United for Peace and Justice National Assembly, Wyndham O'Hare Hotel – near Chicago O'Hare Airport, 6810 North Mannheim Road, Rosemont, IL

CHICAGO -- To defy crippling U.S. sanctions on Iran and build peaceful bridges between the countries, CODEPINK Women for Peace will announce plans this weekend to launch a new company that will invest in an Iranian wind energy company, allowing Americans to show support for peace and sustainability in Iran.

The company, called Winds of Change, will sell shares for $5 each. The shares will give investors an opportunity to support the Saba Niroo Wind Company, based in Tehran, and the campaign to end sanctions. Saba Niroo designs, develops and manufactures medium and large wind turbines, with a commitment to furthering the development of pollution-free energy to improve the health of our environment.

The U.S. Government has only not opposed Iran's nuclear program, but it has also stymied Iran's attempt to develop other energy alternatives. Recent U.S. pressure on the the Danish wind company Vestas has stopped Vestas from providing Saba Niroo with critical parts, halting production. 

"It's ironic that the West is so vehemently opposed to Iran's efforts to develop nuclear energy, but it is sabotaging our efforts to develop clean energy sources like wind," said Nader Niktabe, Sara Niroo's managing director.

By supporting wind energy in Iran, investors will not only aid the environment but improve the political climate by breaking down trade barriers between the United States and Iran.

"Under present U.S. law, companies that invest in Iran are subject to a $1 million fine," said Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder. "We're challenging those unproductive restrictions and pushing the Obama administration to lift sanctions and establish peaceful relations with Iran."

Benjamin will present the initial elements of the plan this weekend in Chicago to the fourth annual assembly of the nation's leading peace and justice coalition, United for Peace and Justice. At the Assembly, delegates from the UFPJ's 1,400 member groups – as well as from those who have not yet joined UFPJ – will come together and map out effective plans to fight two wars and economic disaster under the administration of President-elect Obama.

Benjamin and other CODEPINK women will also present a "Let's talk!" initiative, a plan to gather a broad spectrum of peace, justice and progressive groups together and invite President-elect Obama to meet with them to discuss promises he made during his campaign, question his Cabinet choices, and ask how he plans to be an agent for peace.

Benjamin, co-founder Jodie Evans and (retired) Col. Ann Wright were inspired to invest in Saba Niroo during their recent citizen diplomacy trip to Iran as citizen diplomats, meeting with Iranian officials and people to create human connections and foster understanding between the two countries.  For photos of the trip, click here and listen to Benjamin describe the trip on Democracy Now! here .