Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has ordered ministries of trade and finance to introduce an outright ban on home appliances imports into the country after the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei warned that such shipments could paralyze local manufacturers.
The semi-official Fars news agency on Thursday published images of the order signed by chief of staff at the Iranian presidency office Gholamhossein Esmaeili banning imports of any finished home appliances products.
The order was issued after Ayatollha Khamenei issued a notice to Raeisi warning that a potential return foreign brands of home appliances, including two of two South Korean companies, to the Iranian market would be a huge blow to local manufacturers and their expansion projects.
The Leader intervened in the case after local brands of home appliances wrote to him to ask for help, according to a letter by his office addressed to the Iranian Presidency.
Iran has seen a major surge in manufacturing activity since the United States imposed its sanctions on the country in mid-2018 after pulling out of an international agreement on the country’s nuclear program.
Local manufacturers of home appliances have reported continued increase in their output as they have been struggling to fill a gap created by the departure of foreign companies from Iran after the US sanctions were imposed.
South Korea’s Samsung and LG were among the first such firms that decided to leave the Iranian market three years ago to comply with US sanctions.
The ban imposed on Thursday would not cover parts used to manufacture home appliances inside Iran.
That comes as recent government figures show that foreign brands, including Samsung and LG, still account for a third of the Iranian home appliances market through products that are shipped into the country illegally and via smuggling routes.