Iran is preparing a bid to buy and reopen MG Rover's Longbridge plant for car production, it was claimed today.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the offer was being seen as an attempt to soften the British Government's hard line on Iran's nuclear programme.
It was claimed the Iranian government had ordered its country's rival automotive manufacturers - Dastaan, Sapia, and Khodro - to join forces and buy about 150,000 Rover cars over the next two years before moving to partial assembly of kits in Iran. This would safe-guard thousands of jobs in Britain until the end of the decade.
Peter Linghorn, described as Dastaan's British agent, said Iran was the only buyer willing to willing to take over the whole thing and kick-start production.
He said Iran was even willing to take over some of the Rover MG's £67m pension liabilities and was quoted as saying: "They want to help."
Mr Linghorn said the deal would save almost 100 per cent of the existing MG Rover structure and they wanted to reopen all the Rover lines, which would see manufacturing again of the 75, the 45, the 25 and the MG sports model.
The report claimed the Foreign Office had said there was no question of Britain linking the issues of Rover and uranium enrichment.