TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - "We have ceased our already restricted activities in Iran in accordance with the applicable sanctions," the company was quoted as saying in a statement Tuesday.
The German auto group, which decided to return to Iran in 2016 after the lifting of sanctions under an international nuclear deal, had not resumed operations in the country yet.
The carmaker’s re-entry plans for Iran included establishing a joint venture with Iran Khodro Diesel for local production of Mercedes-Benz trucks and powertrain components, plus the establishment of a sales company for Mercedes-Benz trucks in Tehran.
Daimler also planned to return as a shareholder in the former joint venture Iranian Diesel Engine Manufacturing Co (IDEM) in Tabriz.
The company has not sold any cars in Iran since 2010 despite having a long presence in the country where it sold up to 10,000 vehicles a year before the sanctions.
While the pullout has little economic significance, it flies in the face of the EU implementing a “blocking statute” which is purported to protect firms against possible fallout from breaching US sanctions on Iran.
Germany joined France, Britain, and the EU on Monday to underline that they could protect European companies from new US sanctions which were reinstated on Tuesday.
“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
The German Economy Ministry said Berlin would continue to offer export and investment guarantees to firms doing business with Iran.
Under the blocking statute, European firms must seek a legal exemption for withdrawing from Iran due to US sanctions and those failing to do so could be penalized by their governments.
Firms, however, can twist the law if they claim that their withdrawal is a business decision, making it a tricky issue.
It is not clear yet whether Daimler’s decision would exact penal liability and whether it decided to leave Iran after the blocking statute went into effect.
Companies under US spell
President Hassan Rouhani on Monday called on the EU to take concrete action to protect trade with Iran.
“In my visits to Europe and China and Russia and in the talks I’ve had, they’ve all promised that they will not pay attention to the sanctions,” Rouhani said. “But the problem is their companies, which are under pressure from the US and are affected by the US sanctions.”
Responding apparently to the EU law, US President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday against doing business with Tehran, saying he had imposed "the most biting" sanctions on the country.
"Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” he tweeted.
Daimler joins French car manufacturers PSA and Renault, energy group Total, jet maker Airbus and South Africa’s wireless networks group MTN in suspending trade with Iran.
Nestle to continue Iran operations
Swiss transnational food and drink company Nestle, however, said Tuesday it will continue operations in Iran.
The company produces infant cereals and formula in the northern city of Qazvin and has a bottled water factory in Polour in Mazandaran Province.
“By providing basic food products to Iranian consumers, we will continue to fulfill the needs of the population,” it was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“We continue to closely follow political developments regarding sanctions against Iran. There are no direct implications for our business at this stage,” it added.
Source: Press TV