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Belarus Considers Scrapping Car Production With Iran

First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimer Syamashka (file photo)
MINSK -- The Belarusian government says it intends to stop assembling Iranian Samand automobiles at a plant in Minsk, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimer Syamashka told parliament today that since the beginning of the Belarusian-Iranian project five years ago, only 1,000 Samand cars had been assembled in Belarus.

Syamashka said the car's quality was considered to be mediocre and it was overpriced.

He said the Belarusian government had tried to persuade its Iranian partner to move production of the car chassis from Iran to Belarus to lower production costs, but the Iranian side had refused.

Syamashka added that the government was holding talks with two Chinese car manufacturers on setting up assembly lines in Minsk to produce Chinese models.

He said if the agreements were reached with the Chinese, the Iranian project would be scrapped.

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