Germany sets up Iran advice office for companies
French carmaker Renault will maintain its presence in Iran while taking measures to avoid the risk of penalties for breaching renewed US sanctions, CEO Carlos Ghosn said Friday.
"We will not abandon it, even if we have to downsize very strongly," he said at the annual shareholders' meeting in Paris.
"When the market reopens, the fact of having stayed will certainly give us an advantage," he predicted.
US President Donald Trump announced in May that he was pulling out of the hard-fought 2015 deal in which world powers offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for restraints on its nuclear program.
The US exit means renewed sanctions on the Islamic Republic, while international companies doing business there will face penalties if they do not quit the country in between 90 and 180 days.
But Ghosn signaled that Renault, which counted 160,000 cars sold in Iran last year out of its total 3.76 million, would try to stay in the country.
"We have a future in Iran," he insisted.
"However, we are not going to do so to the detriment of Renault's interests – we will be watching closely to make sure our presence in Iran does not provoke direct or indirect reprisal measures on the part of American authorities."
Ghosn said a Renault team working on the issue was "in direct contact with the American administration to work out what can be done and what cannot be done".
The company has not sold its cars in the United States since abandoning the market in the 1980s.
Renault's rival PSA, which produces the Peugeot and Citroen brands, has announced it will quit Iran to abide by the US sanctions.
Companies including aircraft maker Boeing, French energy giant Total and Danish shipping group Maersk have also announced plans to pull out, while Nike has stopped supplying Iran's football team with boots.
Germany’s advice office
Meanwhile, the German government said it has set up a special office to advise companies worried about their business dealings with Iran.
The European signatories to the nuclear agreement — Germany, France and Britain — have vowed to keep the deal alive after Trumps withdrawal.
Germany’s Economy Ministry said Friday it has established an “Iran contact point” that companies can contact with questions by email.
The ministry stressed that European sanctions relief for Iran, one of the terms of the nuclear agreement, remain in place, and that government-backed export credit guarantees are still available.
AFP and AP contributed to this story.