The biggest auto dealerships in Iran have been ordered to sell Iranian cars for a third time this month as a nationwide government crackdown on the sale of foreign cars enters its third week.
The Tehran Motor Dealers Association said Wednesday it has been ordered by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s National Security Council to sell over 4,000 Iranian vehicles, including over 300 SUVs and sport utility vehicles, at the beginning of April.
It has until April 20 to comply with the order, which will result in the loss of 1.6 million Iranian car sales.
The orders come amid a crackdown on foreign cars and trucks in Iran, which has been under a crippling economic embargo since January that has left millions of Iranians with few other options but to purchase Iranian-made vehicles.
Iran’s top foreign policy adviser on Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said Tuesday that the government will make the same decision again this month.
“We are going to sell cars and we are going be selling trucks,” Zarif said during an interview on Iran state TV.
Iran’s economy is already struggling amid sanctions imposed after its 2008 election to change the constitution and bring an end to the country’s nuclear program.
But a government-backed crackdown on Iranian imports of foreign goods has pushed Tehran’s already-struggling economy to a new level of misery.
Iran has long been a major importer of Western goods, particularly luxury cars, but the restrictions have put a dent in that market.