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U.S. Ambassador Says Volkswagen Agrees To Pull Out Of Iran

RFE/RL September 20, 2018

The U.S. ambassador to Germany has told Bloomberg News that automaker Volkswagen has agreed to comply with U.S. sanctions and suspend most of its operations in Iran.

"We are pleased with this decision because Iran diverts its economic resources away from its people to spread violence and instability across the globe," Ambassador Richard Grenell said on September 19.

Grenell said U.S. officials and Volkswagen finalized the details of the pullout on September 18 following weeks of talks.

The German automaker will still be allowed to conduct some business in Iran under a humanitarian exception, the ambassador added.

A spokesman for the Wolfsburg-based carmaker told the AFP news agency that it was sticking to its long-standing position that it "obeys all national and international laws as well as export regulations."

"We are also taking into account possible effects related to the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions," the spokesman also said.

AFP quoted a source familiar with the talks as saying that Volkswagen and the U.S. administration had not yet reached a final accord.

The White House has not commented.

Volkswagen announced last year that it planned to begin selling cars in Iran for the first time in 17 years.

But U.S. President Donald Trump in May withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with six world powers and last month began reimposing some of the sanctions that had been eased in return for curbs on Tehran's nuclear programs.

Trump complained that the deal did not do enough to prevent Iran from eventually developing the capacity to produce a nuclear weapon.

He also alleged that Iran was violating the spirit of the accord by financing militant activity in the region, an allegation Tehran has denied.

The reimposition of sanctions has weakened the Iranian economy, with the country's currency, the rial, falling sharply against hard currencies in recent months.

Britain and France, along with other European nations, have said they want to protect European companies that continue doing business in Iran.

However, international companies including French oil firm Total, German carmaker Daimler, and Deutsche Telekom have pulled out of the country since the U.S. decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal, fearing they will be targeted by secondary sanctions.

With reporting by Bloomberg, AFP, and Reuters

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/us-sanctions-volkswagen- suspends-iran-business-germany/29499581.html

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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