PSA Peugeot Citroen has plans to sell more than 150,000 Peugeot vehicles in Iran in the second half of this year as it eyes the leading position it once enjoyed in the country, a media report from the Paris show said.

Peugeot, once the biggest-selling European automaker in pre-sanctions Iran, suspended sales in 2012 when an international boycott due to Iran’s nuclear programme was extended to cars, the Reuters report noted. Most sanctions were lifted in January.

PSA sales peaked at 458,000 vehicles before its withdrawal, almost 30% of the market but now Chinese automakers, which secured more business during the sanction years, are piling in as well as western rivals such as Renault.

Iran’s industry minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh was to visit PSA’s Velizy research centre near Paris on Thursday to discuss cooperation with the carmaker, CEO Carlos Tavares told Reuters at the motor show.

“This is the kick-off for the implementation of the deals we have signed,” said Tavares, set to travel to Iran next week. He wants to sell 300,000 Peugeot vehicles there next year.

A July deal with SAIPA, Citroen’s partner since 1966, followed a joint venture deal signed in June between Peugeot and state-owned Iran Khodro. PSA’s smaller DS premium brand has also agreed a distribution arrangement in the country.

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