PSA Peugeot Citroen’s ongoing negotiations to secure a new manufacturing joint venture with Iran’s largest automaker have been impacted by an uncommon issue – a surge in anti-French backlash in the Islamic country.
According to chief executive officer Carlos Tavares, PSA has “developed proposals” for a deal with its historic partner in the country – Iran Khodro – but the negotiations are being clouded by the anti-French sentiment stemming from the tough stance of the European country at the board when they were discussing the breakthrough agreement that dropped the sanctions in return for limited nuclear activity in the country. “The negotiations are taking place in a climate that is fairly hostile to France, because the country’s role during the period under sanctions was not appreciated,” commented Tavares, the top executive of the automaker that held a leadership position on the Iranian auto market before the sanctions were imposed by the western powers.
Iran Khodro added the French automaker must also weigh in on its decision back in 2011 to cut the ties with Iran under the sanctions from the western nations before reaching any agreement, according to state-owned Press TV. Hashem Yekke-Zare, managing director of Iran Khodro, has repeatedly announced his company was in negotiations with several automakers and even hinted that Renault, PSA’s French competitor, might become the manufacturer’s top partner instead of Peugeot. PSA and Renault had strong leadership positions in the Iranian auto market before the international sanctions on Tehran were imposed back in 2011, forcing them to abort their presence in the country, today seen as one of the last “virgin” emerging markets.