Fiat to make big mistake in re-entering Iranian car market - UANI

Business Materials 23 December 2013 16:03 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 23

By Saeed Isayev - Trend:

Fiat, the Italian carmaker would be making a big mistake if it decides to re-enter the Iranian car market, Nathan Carleton, communication director of United Against Nuclear Iran, told Trend.

Carleton was commenting on Fiat voicing its interest in returning to Iran.

Iranian ambassador to Italy, Jahanbakhsh Mozaffari, told Trend on December 16 that Italy could become Iran's major partner in the car manufacturing industry.

Italian carmaker Fiat signed a deal with Iran's Pars Industries Development Fund in 2008 to build a new $275 million factory with a capacity of 100,000 cars to produce Fiat Siena models in Iran. Since then, there has been very little news about the factory or about the current status of the partnership.

"In 2012, Fiat executives told UANI and New York City's next Mayor Bill DeBlasio that they wanted to be a responsible company, and would stay out of Iran until it stopped pursuing nuclear weapons and sponsoring terrorism," UANI's Carleton said.

"Fiat would be going back on its word, and making a serious mistake by re-entering Iran based on just a temporary diplomatic agreement that will expire six months after being implemented," he added.

Iran's car manufacturing sector, which held 7th place among Asia's biggest car manufacturers in 2012, suffered a 40 percent decreased car output the same year, as a result of imposed sanctions, increased prices of raw materials and unstable foreign currency.

As a result of imposed sanctions, many foreign car manufacturers left Iran, or limited their business there. These brands include Nissan, Peugeot, Toyota and several others.

The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical research instead.

On November 24, 2013, Iran was able to reach an agreement with Western states regarding the nuclear program. Iran has agreed to curb some nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief.

"Iran is not re-open for business. It is still a terrorist state that has not verifiably stopped its nuclear program," Carleton said.