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Someone's been naughty: luxury car spotting on Iran's docks (morning repost)

After reading the War Zone piece below about Iran rolling (floating?) out their old dummy aircraft carrier for a live fire exercise I went to check it out on Google maps.

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Update: on the way back to dock it keeled over and sank in an awkward spot - oops!

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It’s pretty easy to find, just go to Bandhar Abbas, zoom in on the big harbour in the middle and look for the giant aircraft carrier shaped thingy with a bullseye on the deck.

I’ll bet there’s a good story to that wreck next to it too
I’ll bet there’s a good story to that wreck next to it too
Screenshot: Google Maps
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I then zoomed out to try and spot a car or something on the dock that would give me a sense of scale since this thing -while big-obviously isn’t 1:1 with a Nimitz class.

That’s when I noticed a Google maps tag for a “parking garage” nearby

Ok I’ll bite, got any reviews?

‘ello ‘ello ‘ello what’s going on here then?
‘ello ‘ello ‘ello what’s going on here then?
Screenshot: Google Maps
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Yes! And there are photos... Hang on, pretty sure that’s not supposed to be there.

From what I understand of the current sanctions against Iran the last thing I should be seeing on the dock a few hundred yards from a Naval Base is a bunch of FCA (ok, ok Stellantis) vehicles! *

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The different time of day photos make me think the photographer was involved with the import
The different time of day photos make me think the photographer was involved with the import
Screenshot: Google Maps
Still got the pre-delivery plastic and stickers in place
Still got the pre-delivery plastic and stickers in place
Screenshot: Google Maps
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The trailer full of Grand Cherokees from the Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit with their pre-delivery plastic still on are the biggest standouts. However that sweet rental spec Dodge Charger from down the street in Brampton is also a bit off an odd duck. The white Camry next to it and 4-Runner or Land Cruiser in the background barely merit a mention.

At first I wondered if this was an ex rental but lack of licence plate holes suggest it’s new
At first I wondered if this was an ex rental but lack of licence plate holes suggest it’s new
Screenshot: Google Maps
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Can anyone identify the little mini-buses?

Clearly the demand for luxury SUVs is high enough to justify importing Jeeps, although it does make me wonder how you go about driving such a quintessentially American vehicle in a country which has historically had such an adversarial relationship with the USA. Do they rebadge them as the “Grand Satan”? Maybe some “Infidel Rated” logos on the fenders... At least they aren’t Jeep Libertys or Patriots (even a regime under sanctions doesn’t want those)

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Of course if you’ve got the money and/or political clout to afford one of these things the morality police probably know to leave you well alone.

Are you are a member of the Jeep Safari club of Tehran? We’d love to hear from you.

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But wait there’s more! The kid who took these photos is totally one of us and has uploaded a bunch more photos of luxury cars hanging out on the docks to google maps plus a video at the link below. There are Corvettes, Camaros, Audis, Minis, Porches, Range Rovers (natch), more Jeeps (Wranglers) and lots of misc Mercedes/BMWs.

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Google maps actually has pretty great penetration in Iran - if you need coffee, a bicycle shop or watch repair in Bandhar Abbas I can now recommend a spot.

*Note: the sanctions regime against Iran is confusing atm. While the US has gone full nope again the Europeans are still ok with Iran and have issued a “blocking statute” to protect EU companies doing “legitimate” business there. Of course that won’t stop the Americans going after you if they can (see the Huawei exec fighting extradition from Canada atm). Since they aren’t military or nuclear related it is entirely possible that these cars arrived on that dock via a totally legal if circuitous route. Still bet the Jeep execs wouldn’t be thrilled to know about it.

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