BMW has become the first automaker to export cars to Iran after a decade-long ban, a BMW manager reportedly said on Wednesday.

"Following painstaking procedures, we obtained permits to import our cars, and a few have made it through customs," BMW Iran's Sean Arjmand told Reuters.

Two 5 series cars were successfully imported, fetching around €120,000, just less than three times their price in Germany because of tariffs starting at 130%. Eight more are still being examined by customs officials in the southern port of Bandar Abbas.

The news agency said BMW hopes eventually to import between 2,000 to 3,000 cars a year, as long as customs procedures are eased.

The Islamic Republic allowed the import of cars from March 2004 to make the state-dominated domestic market more competitive and address demand for large sedans. Well-off Iranians bought cars abroad in the past but faced tariffs of almost 200%, the report said.

"We have to go all the way first and the procedures must be clarified to us before we import more cars," Arjmand reportedly said.

"Our ultimate goal is to assemble BMWs in Iran, but we would like to take one step at a time," Arjmand told Reuters.

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