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Iran Nuclear Deal Hits Gas Pedal For Carmakers

"PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault will offer new cars to the market with the help of their Iranian partners," the minister said. "They've been big contributors to Iran's auto industry. Given the Geneva deal, we hope sanctions will be lifted by the end of December so that joint ventures with foreign carmakers can resume."

Iran Khodro's manager, Hashem Yekeh Zare, said his company is considering a joint project with Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, but didn't elaborate. Zare said his company is seeking greater self-sufficiency and is interested in importing auto parts and licenses for joint production.

Representatives from German, Indian, Japanese and South Korean auto manufacturers attended Saturday's conference. But despite a recent thaw in relations between Iran and the U.S., including a historic phone call between moderate President Hassan Rouhani and President Barack Obama, no representative from a U.S. automaker attended the event. American carmakers have been absent from Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution and the U.S. Embassy takeover. U.S. law blocks American carmakers from the Iranian market.

That's not to say there's no interest in American muscle cars. An Iranian advertising campaign in recent months promised an exhibition of American-made cars but it was never held. Iranian media did, however, report the arrival of some Chevrolet Camaros to the country earlier this year, apparently through third parties.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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