Poles raise money to buy new lorry for stranded Iranian

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Fardin Kazemi in front of his broken down American International 9670 lorryImage source, Zrzutka.pl
Image caption,
Fardin Kazemi had been delivering raisins when his lorry broke down in central Poland

A Polish crowd-funding initiative has raised nearly 250,000 zlotys (£50,000) to buy a new lorry for an Iranian driver, who was stranded when his vehicle broke down.

Fardin Kazemi was delivering raisins to Poland, and was due to continue to the Czech Republic to pick up goods for import to Iran.

He had to sleep in his vehicle, when he was unable to afford repairs.

"The Polish people have been angels for me," said Mr Kazemi.

Based in Khoy in north-western Iran, Mr Kazemi has been driving to Europe for more than a quarter of a century.

However, before he can return home in the new vehicle, he needs to obtain permission from the Iranian authorities to import the lorry, waiving sanctions Iran has imposed on certain goods from the European Union.

Online appeal

Fardin Kazemi's problems began on 3 December, when his 30-year-old lorry broke down in the central Polish town of Koziegłowy, north of Katowice.

Image source, Zrzutka.pl
Image caption,
Repairing the lorry turned out to be uneconomic

Polish lorry drivers launched an online appeal to raise money to repair the vehicle, as well as providing the Iranian with food and a place to sleep.

The initial target of 100,000 zlotys was reached within 24 hours and the total now stands at more than double that, with donations still coming in.

Image source, Zrzutka.pl
Image caption,
His mother has yet to hear about Fardin Kazemi's adventures

It has proved uneconomic to repair the lorry, so the plan is now to buy a new one.

Under Iranian law, only vehicles less than three years old can be imported, so the Polish fundraisers intend to buy a secondhand 2017 DAF XF 106 tractor unit to pull Mr Kazemi's lorry trailer.

However, the plan may yet fall foul of Iranian sanctions against certain imports from EU countries. An exemption is now being sought for the replacement vehicle.

"I have travelled all over Europe for 27 years… so far I have not had the chance to get to know Poles better, although they have always been nice. Now it turns out that they are wonderful people, and it is difficult for me to believe their help," he told Dziennik Zachodni.

"We didn't tell my mother any of the details of this, so as not to worry her. She just thinks I'm at work."