Iran sanctions thaw offers automaker opportunities

Iran sanctions thaw offers automaker opportunities

Renault says it is "closely monitoring" the diplomatic situation concerning Iran as automakers and suppliers start to take advantage of the slight relaxation in sanctions against Tehran.

An agreement reached in Switzerland at the end of last year, paved the way for a limited lifting of draconian sanctions against Iran, which some in the West believe to be attempting to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

In January, the French automaker said sanctions had cost it 64,500 models, but the thaw in relations could see it up shipments to Iran later this year, with Renault regional chief, Gilles Normand, noting the next few months presented an opportunity for component exports for assembly, while also making reference to the importance of finance flow.

"Since the Geneva agreements in November, the embargo has been partially suspended," a Renault spokeswoman in Paris told just-auto. "It has not been lifted yet.

"We are waiting and are closely monitoring the diplomatic situation there and we hope it will be resolved any time soon.

"Iran is a really important market and if the embargo is lifted eventually and also the financial situation is resolved - this is what our management - especially [CEO] Carlos Ghosn has been repeating regarding the situation these past few months."

Renault has business with both major Iranian automakers, Iran Khodro and SAIPA and started shipping components for Tondar (Dacia) models at the beginning of the year.

The Tondar90 is a version of the first generation Dacia/Renault Logan built by both IKCO and SAIPA.

Some estimates have put the benefits to the automotive industry of the limited sanctions relaxation at up to US$500m.

Paris business association, MEDEF, recently took a delegation to Tehran, while French supplier body, FIEV, attended an automotive conference in the Iranian capital, bringing with it 16 domestic component producers.

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