LATEST: Further Blow to Besieged Auto Industry: 24% Drop in Exports in April

Expert-level talks, supporting negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, opened on Tuesday in New York.

The discussions are going over technical details before the two sides try to advance on key issues in their 4th round of negotiations on the final agreement, starting on May 13 in Vienna.

Key areas include the number and development of Iran’s centrifuges for uranium enrichment, the status of the Islamic Republic’s facilities such as the Fordoo enrichment plant and the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor, the extent of international inspections and supervision of the nuclear program, and the timing of the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

Meanwhile, an International Atomic Energy Agency team completed its three-day visit to Iran, with agreement on inspections of Arak.

The heavy-water reactor, still under construction, is at the center of talks because of Western fears that its plutonium by-product could be used in a militarised nuclear program.

The IAEA inspectors also visited the Saghand uranium mine and a uranium processing plant in central Iran.

Further Blow to Besieged Auto Industry: 24% Drop in Exports in April

Exports from Iran’s crippled auto industry fell another 24% between March 21 and April 20.

The Islamic Republic exported only 685 cars in the month, 98% of them to Iraq.

Sales abroad have fallen 45.5% in the past year.

The industry has been hit by Western sanctions, which have both restricted exports and blocked imports of vital parts and components.

Iran’s automobile industry is the biggest non-oil sector in the economy, constituting around 10% of GDP.