Sulayem holds talks with Iranian delegation
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FIA Vice President and President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) Mohammed Ben Sulayem held wide-ranging talks with a high level delegation of the Touring & Automobile Club of the Islamic Republic of Iran (TACIRI) when they called on him this week during a visit to Dubai.
The talks, aimed at reinforcing links between not just the two countries but the entire Middle East in motor sport and tourism, were held between Sulayem and TACIRI Managing Director Aliasghar Parhizkar.
Also present at the meeting, held at the ATCUAE Headquarters in Mumzar, Dubai, were TACIRI Deputy Managing Director Alireza Bozorgzad and Iran’s Classic Car Committee President Ramin Salehkhoo.
“With a population of approximately 70 million people - a majority of this under 30 years of age – and with the Islamic Republic manufacturing over a million vehicles a year, it is only but natural to bring Iran into the East Rally Championship fold.
“Iran has some great terrain for cross country rallying which is why the ATCUAE will now assist in running a pilot project there at a date to be announced soon,” Sulayem said.
“Apart from this, Iran has a fantastic karting circuit and an excellent national Motocross team, so we have to do everything possible to integrate them into regional motorsport events and activities,” Sulayem added.
Parhizkar, who later toured the Dubai Autodrome with his colleagues, said: “I am very happy with the outcome of this meeting and also impressed with the functioning of the ATCUAE which is evident from the various activities they conduct,” adding: “Not to mention the excellent facilities at the Dubai Autodrome.”
One immediate result though of the talks between Sulayem and the Iranian delegation, is that a restriction on motoring tourists travelling to the Islamic Republic will be lifted in the very near future.
For the last several years, UAE travellers taking their vehicles on visits to Iran using official trips tickets or carnets (Carnet de Passage en Douane), issued by the ATCUAE, have been limited to one month stays. Parhizkar has given an assurance that the restriction will be lifted in the next two months, and vehicles with UAE number plates would be permitted a stay of up to three months with the option to renew to a period that will be determined at a later stage.
Carnets are issued exclusively in the UAE by the ATCUAE on behalf of the FIA, which links 213 national motoring organisations from 125 countries.
It was also agreed that the ATCUAE and TACIRI would work closely together to guard the interests of holders of International Driving Permits, particularly by cracking down on issuers of illegal permits.
While motor sport, mobility and safety issues figured during the talks, Sulayem took the opportunity to invite the country’s Classic Car Committee to attend and even participate in the forthcoming 2nd annual Downtown Dubai Classic Car Show, to be held from February 18-21.
Sulayem informed Salehkhoo that not only was he welcome to bring along some cars for the show, but that the ATCUAE as the official representative of the Federation Internationale Anciens Vehicles, would be only too happy to participate in similar shows in Iran.
It was also decided to hold more frequent meetings between the ATCUAE and TACIRI to monitor progress being made on the various issues that were discussed during the current meeting.
In May 2007, Sulayem made his first ever official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran with talks centering around strengthening motor sport, mobility and motor tourism ties between the two countries and the region in general.