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Dieter Zetsche Copyright Scott Olson, Getty Images
Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche

Daimler Scraps Iran Expansion Plan Because of US Sanctions

In 2016, Daimler moved fast to re-establish ties with Iran, signing preliminary agreements with Iran Khodro Co., the nation’s biggest auto producer, to sell and produce trucks.

Daimler AG dropped plans to expand its business in Iran after the U.S. renewed a host of sanctions and President Donald Trump threatened to penalize companies doing business in the country.

The German carmaker has suspended its “limited” activities in Iran until further notice because of the trade curbs coming into effect Tuesday, the Mercedes-Benz maker and biggest commercial vehicles manufacturer said in an emailed statement. In 2016, Daimler moved fast to re-establish ties with Iran, signing preliminary agreements with Iran Khodro Co., the nation’s biggest auto producer, to sell and produce trucks.

Since debilitating sanctions were eased in 2016, Iran emerged as a hot spot for growth, and trade with Europe surged to more than $10 billion. Now that the U.S. has canceled a 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic republic and re-imposed sanctions, companies are rushing back out. Last month France’s Renault SA joined PSA Group, which makes Peugeot and Citroen cars, in pulling away.

“We will continue to closely monitor the political developments, especially in connection with the future of the nuclear agreement,” Daimler said, which hadn’t resumed sale or production of cars or trucks. The company ceasing to operate in Iran was first reported by Stuttgarter Zeitung.

Before dropping business in Iran in 2010 amid international sanctions against the country’s nuclear-research program, Daimler had sold as many as 10,000 vehicles there a year.

By Elisabeth Behrmann and Chris Reiter

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