High-level talks to decide Iran sanctions landscape

High-level talks to decide Iran sanctions landscape

Renault says it hopes the regulatory situation with Iran will ease following next week's crunch talks in Vienna aimed at resolving Tehran's nuclear stand-off with the West.

Negotiations between the so-called P5+1 group, the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China as well as the European Union (EU), are now entering the final stages of a tortuous process designed to halt what the West perceives as Iran's attempts to enrich uranium for nuclear weapon development.

The automotive sector was granted temporary relief last year following President Barack Obama's decision to lift his Executive Order regarding the industry and Iran, although tough banking restrictions remain.

Both Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen have seen improved business with Iran since the slight thaw in the regulatory environment, with European automotive supplier body, CLEPA, previously estimating the market at up to 600,000 final assembled cars.

"Of course, Iran is a very important country for us," a Renault spokeswoman told just-auto from Paris. "When there was no embargo, it was one year in our top ten best-selling countries, Iran is a strategic market.

"It would be fair to say we hope things are going better on the regulatory front. But we wait for the outcome of the nuclear talks and the decision [s] are ongoing to lift the embargo once and for all. Maybe it is going to be stage by stage.

"Or maybe this transitory period we are witnessing for a year, maybe it is going to be continued, there are different scenarios."

Secretary of State, John Kerry is reported to have delayed his visit to Vienna for further discussions in London, while his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, are also due to be key players in the crucial meetings.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, said through his offical outlet, his country would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to "assure transparency of the Iranian nuclear programme.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran honours commitment to international regulations, a reference to Non-Proliferation Treaty," continued the outlet.

Iran has an extremely low car penetration of just 175 vehicles per 1,000 population, placing the country 67th in world rankings.

Suppliers - particularly from France and Sweden - are eyeing the Vienna talks closely as both countries aim to capitalise on opportunities including the potential provision of safety features.