Swatch Group CEO Nick Hyek and the group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) are at odds over Swatch’s continuing presence in Iran as conditions continue to worsen in the region.
UANI’s position is that the only people in Iran who can afford an Omega or other Swatch Group watch are members of the oppressive regime that currently controls the country. These are the same people who control Iran’s command economy and profit from it unjustly, and so UANI says, the money Swatch makes in Iran is dirty if not bloody.
Hayek and Swatch responded to these allegations by insisting their customers “are people – not regimes” and by demanding to know how UANI is funded. UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace explained why it would be difficult to do so:
“In regards to your query about UANI’s sources of funding and how these funds are used…the Iranian regime is led by a brutal and repressive elite, which frequently engages in acts of terrorism, repression and murder to silence dissent and criticism. Unfortunately, UANI and other effective charities working in opposition to repressive regimes worldwide cannot therefore always disclose the identities of their supporters without exposing them and their families to the risk of retaliation from these same regimes.”
UANI, for its part, demanded that Swatch disclose the identities of their Iranian clients, a request which did not garner a response from Hayek.
In its full press release, UANI went on to detail some of Iran’s past statements that have put it at odds with the rest of the world, namely its constant refrain calling for the total destruction of Israel.