TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Iranian president's 33-year-old car has received a $1 million bid from abroad in a charity auction to raise money for a low-income housing project, reported a local newspaper on Sunday.
The 1977 white Peugeot sedan was put on auction to fund a housing projects for disabled and young people in a move by the president to appeal to fulfill a campaign promise to put a roof over the head of every poor Iranian.
The Iran daily newspaper said various bids from abroad have been received by the multilingual website set up Saturday for the auction, including $1 million, but it did not elaborate on the identity of the bidders.
The top bidders will be invited to the auction, which will be held in mid-February in the southwestern city of Abadan. Online offers can be made until the end of January. Foreign bidders paid 50 euros ($67) to register, while locals pay around $50.
The president had made a point of being seen in the humble white Peugeot 504 sedan when he was Tehran mayor before becoming president in 2005. He has rarely used the car in the past years, however, probably because of security measures. The car would probably be worth around $2,000 on the local market.
Lack of housing has always been a major concern in Iran, where a quarter of the 75 million population live in rented apartments and nearly a third of a family's income goes to pay the rent.
Official statistics say the government has built more than 140,000 housing units in the first half of 201l. It has promised to build nearly 1 million units by March 2011.