TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. has stopped shipping vehicles to Iran, amid a fresh wave of international sanctions against the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program.
The indefinite suspension of exports, which began in June, was made in light of the “international situation,” the world’s largest automaker says.
“We always monitor the international situation and make decisions based on that,” spokesman Dion Corbett said. Toyota has not decided when shipments might resume.
The United States, European Union and United Nations have imposed successive sanctions on Iran since June in an attempt to halt the nation’s suspected development of atomic weapons.
But Toyota’s decision wasn’t all about political correctness. Washington has promised to fine companies that violate the sanctions. And Japan’s Nikkei newspaper says Toyota wants to steer clear of trouble, especially given its recent headaches with regulators over U.S. recalls.
Before shipments were halted, Toyota exported only 222 vehicles to Iran this year, mostly SUVs such as the Land Cruiser. It sent 4,000 vehicles in 2008, but the number of units dropped to 246 last year.
It’s not the first time Toyota has reacted to the shifting geopolitical landscape. Communist North Korea is also on the Japanese carmaker’s no-go list.