Iran Khodro has decided to return to Syria and resume production of vehicles in the war-torn country, the leading Iranian automaker says.
The company exported about 100 cars to Syria just recently but it now plans to restore its manufacturing site near Damascus, Iran Khodro Deputy CEO Saeed Tafazzoli said.
The decision follows the Syrian army’s recent advances on the ground, driving terrorists out of key territories around the capital and Aleppo.
Under a new agreement between Iran Khodro and Syria’s Siamco, the Iranian carmaker will stop producing the Samand sedan and manufacture Soren ELX, the compact Runna and the Dena family cars instead.
Tafazzoli said Iran Khodro is about to export 600 vehicles to Syria and another 500 cars to the neighboring Lebanon by the end of the year.
Siamco was Iran Khodro’s largest assembly site overseas producing the Syrian version of Samand called Sham before halting the operation in 2011 when a foreign-backed insurgency broke out in the Arab country.
Apart from car manufacturing, Iran is involved in power generation and construction of roads and grain silos in Syria.
The two countries have an ambitious plan for exports of Iranian electricity to Syria which would hook up their national grids to those of Iraq and Lebanon, creating the biggest power network in the Islamic world.
In July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signed a law ratifying a $1 billion credit line from Iran to buy goods and fund projects.
At the time, Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Damascus and Tehran had a batch of joint oil and gas projects in the pipeline worth an estimated $3.6 billion.
Halqi said the two Muslim countries were planning to step up their bilateral cooperation in all major economic sectors, from agriculture and transport to energy.
When asked to put a price tag on the total planned joint projects, Halqi gave an estimate of $1 billion in healthcare and social programs, and $3.6 billion in oil and gas projects.
Damascus was a major ally of Tehran during eight years of Iran’s war with the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.