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Iran bans import of French automobiles amid growing tensions

November 18, 2022 at 1:52 pm

In this photo illustration, a screen displays the logo of “Renault”, French multinational automobile manufacturer, in Ankara, Turkey on March 20, 2021. [Mehmet Kaman – Anadolu Agency]

Iran has imposed a ban on the import of French automobiles due to “unprofessional behaviour” of the country, the Industry, Mine and Trade has announced, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Omid Qalibaf, a Ministry spokesman, said in a statement that the government has not issued any fresh license for importing French cars “over the past few months”, underlining growing bilateral tensions.

“Due to the unprofessional behaviour of the French in the past years, we no longer allow registering orders and importing Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and other French car manufacturers’ products,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by local media.

He asserted that the focus of Iran’s automobile industry is now on “non-French products,” primarily from Japan, China, South Korea and some European countries.

“Iran will not allow them (French) to put pressure on its automobile industry and market with sanctions,” Qalibaf added, linking the decision to sanctions on Tehran.

Tensions between Tehran and Paris have heightened in recent months following sweeping protests in Iran over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s morality police.

READ: Iran intelligence tried to kidnap or assassinate critics in UK at least 10 times, MI5 says

France has been one of the European countries to strongly criticise what it has called the “crackdown on protests,” with the European Union imposing a slew of sanctions on Iranian officials and entities.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, last week met a group of Iranian dissidents and vowed support for the “revolution” in the Islamic Republic, which prompted a sharp reaction from Tehran.

It comes as some French nationals have been detained in Iran in recent months, with Iran’s Interior Minister, Ahmad Vahidi, on Wednesday dubbing them French “intelligence agents” who sought to foment unrest amid ongoing protests.

Paris, however, denied the Iranian claim, calling the detention of seven French nationals “arbitrary”.

The move by the US and E3 countries, which includes France, to table an anti-Iran resolution at the UN nuclear watchdog over Iran’s “non-cooperation” with the Agency has also fuelled tensions between the two sides.

The decision to ban the import of French cars came immediately after the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of governors passed the resolution on Thursday.

French-made car such as Renault, Peugeot and Citroen, have dominated Iran’s automobile market for years, despite sanctions.