France's Fabius: Iran could be easier for Renault than Peugeot

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - PSA Peugeot Citroen, previously the market leader in Iran, could find it more difficult to return to the country than fellow French car group Renault, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after talks with Iranian leaders.

Peugeot and Renault both enjoyed a strong position in the Iranian market before international sanctions on Tehran were introduced in 2011, forcing them to exit.

Fabius, just back from the first visit to Iran by a French foreign minister for 12 years, said the feedback from Iranian ministers on Renault was positive.

“As far as Peugeot is concerned, Iranian leaders criticise it for leaving a few years ago in a way they dispute. So it could be more difficult,” Fabius told France Info radio.

The prospect of the lifting of international sanctions against Iran after its breakthrough nuclear deal with world powers has made carmakers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen and Volkswagen keen to do business there.

Peugeot Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday talks on a manufacturing venture with Iran’s biggest carmaker were being undermined by anti-French sentiment.

He said Peugeot had developed proposals with its long-standing partner Iran Khodro. The Iranian company has said Peugeot must account for its 2011 decision to exit Iran before signing any new deals, state-owned Press TV said. (Reporting by Sophie Louet and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Jon Boyle)