Gotion Inc.’s plans to build a multi-billion-dollar electric vehicle battery component plant in Mecosta County are drawing ever more scrutiny. The company’s connections to the Peoples Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party are cited as a source of concern, particularly due to the proposed site being in close proximity to the U.S. National Guard facility outside Grayling.

That scrutiny has been intensified by revelations a delegation of Islamic Republic of Iran government and business officials met with Gotion officials at the company’s headquarters in China this past Saturday.

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Former U.S. ambassadors Pete Hoekstra and Joseph Cella on Monday exposed the meeting between the delegation and Iran Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade Abbas Aliabadi with Guoxuan/Gotion High-tech, Co., Ltd. CEO Li Zhen in Hefei, People’s Republic of China. The purpose of the meeting, according to Hoekstra and Cella, was to broaden bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries.

Hoestra and Cella cited reports of the meeting published by the Islamic Republic News Agency and Tasnim News Agency, which is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces. Chuck Thelen, the American overseeing the company’s expansion in the United States, did not appear in the photograph above that was published by IRNA.

Hoekstra and Cella are continuing their joint recommendation to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Commission to cancel the state’s economic commitment to Gotion’s proposed plant outside of Big Rapids. The project is slated to receive $715 million in Michigan tax payer dollars and tax incentives.

“We condemn that PRC-based and CCP-tied Gotion who may receive hundreds of millions of dollars from our strapped and hard working Michigan taxpayers is now courting business from the Islamic Republic of Iran, that is designated a state sponsor of terrorism, including Hamas.”

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Hoekstra and Cella added the Gotion connection to Iran is exacerbated by intelligence reports, indicating several hundred Hamas militants received specialized combat training in Iran by the IRGC’s Quds Force before their October 7 attack on Israel.  After the attack, Iran Deputy for Culture and Defense described Hamas’ attacks on civilians “the greatest success of the Islamic world.”

In his address to the United Nations after the Hamas attack, Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian threatened retaliation against U.S. military forces if Israel launched a counteroffensive against Hamas.

Additionally, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamamjei stated: “The situation between America and Iran is this: When you chant ‘Death to America’ it is not just a slogan – it is a policy.”

The two former ambassadors say the meeting reveals the PRC/CCP regime is intertwined with Iran.

“Gotion’s ties to Iran are further evidence of the corrupted nature of the parties to this ‘deal’, and we call on Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the MEDC to cancel the ‘deal’ with Gotion,” Hoekstra and Cella said in a statement.

“It is incumbent upon Governor Whitmer, the MEDC, and the Michigan legislature to study and toughen the Iran Economic Sanctions Act of 2013 (IESA) by making it current with the current threat matrix from China and Iran,” they added.  “This could include adding critical mineral and technology sectors to the law’s criteria, and prohibiting the State of Michigan to provide taxpayer dollars to, or contracting with, any foreign entity who is engaged in investment activity with Iran.”

Hoekstra and Cella concluded that MEDC CEO Quentin Messer dishonestly claimed “due diligence” and “exhaustive due diligence” on the PRC/CCP and Iranian connections to Gotion.