Iranian police are taking a hardline view on the country’s ban on American imports by no longer issuing license plates for any vehicles with production in the United States, including ones from foreign brands. “All American-made and U.S.-brand vehicles, including Honda and Toyota, are banned from receiving number plate services by the police,” Saeed Montazerolmahdi told The Japan Times.
The Iranian police seem to have a rather loose definition of what constitutes an American car, though. A consumer there told The Japan Times that he bought his wife a Toyota Prius for her birthday, and the authorities haven’t allowed him to get a license plate for it. Toyota built the Prius in Japan, though.
The Iranian Car Importers Union estimated there were at least 500 American-made vehicles from Japanese and German brands waiting for license plates. The organization asserts that its members brought the models in legally and paid all the requisite taxes. Toyota and Honda don’t officially export models to Iran, so they can’t help, either. Now, the owners face up to a year in prison if they drive the vehicles without a valid plate.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mandated the ban on products from the U.S last year, but cars weren’t immediately part of the prohibition. In May 2016, Khamenei cancelled a $7-million order for importing 200 Chevrolets. "Even the Americans are not interested in buying such cars because of their weight and high fuel consumption,” Khamenei said at the time. "Why should we import the cars from a bankrupt American factory? This is very odd."
Iran now faces fewer international sanctions, which allows more products into the country. However, Khamenei has been pushing the people of Iran to buy from firms in the country.
Source: The Japan Times