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Employees work on Citroen C4 and DS4 production lines of the French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen on April 13, 2012.

Employees work on Citroen C4 and DS4 production lines of the French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen on April 13, 2012.

We have no sales not for economic reasons but for political reasons. The Iranian market is one that cannot easily be replaced for Peugeot." Jean-Pierre Mercier from a closed Peugeot plant
A French auto workers’ union member says the country’s largest automaker Peugeot cannot find a replacement for the Iranian market after the company was forced to slash 8,000 jobs over Iran sanctions, Press TV reports. “We have no sales not for economic reasons but for political reasons. The Iranian market is one that cannot easily be replaced for Peugeot. It’s an unacceptable decision for us,” Jean-Pierre Mercier from a closed Peugeot plant told Press TV. Peugeot’s announcement on Thursday that PSA Peugeot Citroen would axe 8,000 jobs and shut the first car factory in 20 years has caused a political firestorm. “If the state can prevent Peugeot from selling cars to Iran, why cannot they prevent these firings? Unfortunately, the unions insufficiently mobilized to tip the scale and stopped the embargo,” Mercier said. Iran is Peugeot’s largest foreign customer, with half a million in auto sales translating into some several billion Euros each year. However, citing new banking sanctions, Peugeot ended cooperation in February. Peugeot’s auto sales this year are down nearly a quarter of a million units, almost exactly the amount that Iran would have normally purchased. According to reports, giving up the Iranian market might have been the price of Peugeot’s recent alliance with Detroit’s General Motors, owned by the US government, which has imposed sanctions on Iran for decades. This is while Renault, another major French automaker, saw their Iranian sales double last year to 100,000 vehicles and they expect this number to rise. AGB/HGH/AZ