Peugeot CEO visit to Tehran symptomatic of wider Iran interest

Peugeot CEO visit to Tehran symptomatic of wider Iran interest

Iran Khodro (IKCO) says the recent visit by Peugeot CEO, Maxime Picat, sends a strong signal to other potential investors Tehran is open for business again.

A chink of business light is emerging in Iran following breakthrough sanctions talks in Geneva, which some speculate could lead to the auto industry benefiting by up to US$500m.

Stringent sanctions were imposed on Iran following what some in the West considered Iran's attempts to attempt to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

However, a partial thaw seems to be taking place with nuclear talks led by the  so-called P5+1 group, the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China as well as the European Union and Iran.

Both Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen have maintained ties with Iran, while an automotive conference in the Iranian capital at the end of last year also saw a significant delegation from French suppliers association, FIEV, led by its vice president, Arnaud de David-Beauregard, attend with 16 companies from the body.

IKCO says the Peugeot CEO spent ten hours in talks with his Iranian counterpart, Hashem Yeke Zare, which spanned technology transfer and product localisation, but the Tehran automaker adds there is a far wider effect from the visit.

"This meeting was an important message - that was the presence of high-ranking Peugeot officials in Iran to visit its strategic partners," an IKCO spokesman told just-auto from Tehran.

"For other investors It think it is a message...the Iranian automotive industry is now free [of] any kind of restrictions. Every company here in Iran is very hopeful about negotiations between Iran and the 5+1.

"Also, [the] Iranian automotive market is very attractive for investors, especially foreign investors. They want to come here."

IKCO says it also discussed how it take advantage of Peugeot's sales network.

Recently-elected Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, noted last week: "Sanctions were a big cruelty to our people and our nation as well, as the world lost because of it," although hard-line US lobby body, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), added Tehran was "enjoying substantial economic benefits from sanctions relief, while still developing its nuclear programme."

It is unclear if the partial sanctions lifting will be maintained, but the fact they have been eased at all, is providing a filip to the automotive sector. 

"There is a good atmosphere about Iranian companies, especially [the] automotiove industry, which is the second industry in Iran," added the IKCO spokesman.