* Toyota: halted exports due to “international situation”
* Toyota shares fall 1.8 pct vs 2.7 pct drop in Nikkei (Adds comments of representative to Iran, paragraph 6-8)
TOKYO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Wednesday it had suspended auto exports to Iran indefinitely since June, amid growing international scrutiny of companies dealing with the country.
U.S. President Barack Obama on July 1 signed a law imposing tough new sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors, hoping to curb nuclear work that Tehran says is for energy production but Washington suspects is aimed at bomb-making. [ID:nLDE6610EE]
The Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday Toyota has decided to stop shipments because companies continuing to deal with Iran have come under scrutiny from the U.S. government.
“We made the decision after taking into account the international situation including sanctions by the U.S. and the U.N. on Iran,” said Toyota spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto.
The spokeswoman declined to comment on whether its business with Iran was under scrutiny from the U.S. government. The U.S. is the biggest market for the automaker.
A representative of Toyota in Iran said the company would continue to sell its products in the Islamic state, the Students News Agency ISNA reported.
“We do not deny what has been announced today ... But the company will continue to sell its products in Iran. Our customers should not be concerned over getting services and spare parts as well,” Mohammad Reza Shahbazi was quoted by ISNA as saying.
Toyota exported roughly 4,000 automobiles, such as the Land Cruiser four-wheel-drive vehicle, to Iran in 2008. The number fell to 246 in 2009 due to the global economic downturn.
This year, its Iranian exports had reached 222 by the end of May, but no exports have been made since then.
On Aug. 3, Japan approved new sanctions against Iran in line with a U.N. Security Council resolution in June, including adding 40 companies and an individual to a blacklist targeted for a freezing of assets.
Shares of Toyota fell 1.8 percent to 3,020 yen, while the benchmark Nikkei average .N225 dropped 2.7 percent. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Nobuhiro Kubo in Tokyo; Vinay Sarawagi in Bangalore; Ramin Mostafavi in Tehran, Editing by Joseph Radford and Erica Billingham)