Middle East

Iran seeks foreign partnerships to boost its auto industry

Iran's president is calling for foreign partnerships to boost the country's car industry and says the sector must be privatized to improve its competitiveness.

President Hassan Rouhani told a car industry conference in a nationally broadcast speech on Tuesday that partnerships with international carmakers offer a shortcut to improving the industry's technology and safety.

Iran's 50-year-old car industry produces about 900,000 cars annually. The country hopes to increase the number to 3 million by 2025.

France's Peugeot-Citroen last month announced a joint venture with automaker Iran Khodro to make 200,000 cars a year outside Tehran. The French carmaker was heavily involved in Iran's auto industry before nuclear-related sanctions were imposed.

In Iran, a country of 80 million people, road accidents annually claim nearly 17,000 lives, which many blame on safety.