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US Envoy Tells German Companies to Wind Down Operations in Iran ‘Immediately’

US Envoy Tells German Companies to Wind Down Operations in Iran ‘Immediately’

“We remain committed to the Iran deal,” says German Chancellor Merkel

Following President Donald Trump’s decision to no longer abide by the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has urged the German businesses to stop trading with the Islamic Republic of Iran. “US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately,” Grenell tweeted on Tuesday.

Besides Iranian regime, European countries like Germany and France have been the biggest beneficiaries of the economic windfall generated from the 2015 nuclear deal. Carmakers Daimler and Peugeot have joined forces with Iranian partners to set up manufacturing plants in the country. Siemens landed a huge contract to upgrade Iran’s railway network. Aircraft maker Airbus, in which both Germany and France hold stakes, signed a $27 billion deal to supply airliners to Tehran.

According to the Hamburg-based weekly Der Spiegel, German companies urged the Merkel government to protect their business interests in the wake of the U.S. decision. “Worried about Iran Trade, German Businesses Seek Government Support,” the headline in Der Spiegel said.

The German business sector responded with shock to the U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement to pull out of the Iran deal.

“The companies are worried that their trade with Iran could lead to loss of business in the United States.” The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said. “European firms face the threat of sanctions–eventually–if their Iranian business partners end up on the U.S. sanctions lists.

The U.S. sanctions will hit German firms even if the EU unilaterally abstains from imposing sanctions against Iran, according to the association. It is unclear if the U.S. will allow the old contracts to stand. “The German government and the EU need to act now to protect Europe’s Iran trade and restore the lost confidence.” demanded the DIHK. [Translation by author]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already declared her opposition to the U.S. President’s move. “We remain committed to the Iran deal,” the German newspaper Die Welt reported, quoting Chancellor Merkel.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass assured that nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic was still in place. “The agreement is not dead,” Mass told the German broadcaster ARD. “We will try to keep this important agreement alive–an agreement that ensures security in the Near and the Middle East and thereby in the entire world.”

Similar efforts are underway in France as well. “We will obviously do everything, in conjunction with our businesses, to protect their interests,” a French source told the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post.

“Europeans want to save the nuclear agreement,” wrote the German newspaper Die Welt. The newspaper highlighted the diplomatic efforts underway in Europe following the US withdrawal:

Foreign ministers from Germany, France and the UK are deliberating if and how they can salvage the Vienna agreement of 2015 [Iran deal] without the United States. Iran wants to stick to the deal for the meanwhile, but has made it conditional to the promised economical benefits. [Translation by author]

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was more belligerent in its reporting. “Trump’s Act of Destruction,” read the headline of the editorial penned by the newspaper’s DC correspondent. “The European companies, engaged in trading with Iran, will suffer the consequences, too,” the editorial added.

As the media coverage and statements from Berlin indicate, Germany’s political and business establishments are determined to salvage the Iran deal, or at least the lucrative financial gains made in Iran in the wake of the 2015 agreement.

If the U.S. sanctions were to snap back into place following President Trump’s decision, German businesses could try to sabotage the measures. European corporations and banking sectors have a history of colluding with Iranian businesses. In 2014, Germany’s Commerzbank was fined $1.45 billion by the U.S. authorities for violating the Iran sanctions. Following year, France’s Paribas paid $9 billion in legal settlements for committing similar violations.

With leading German and French companies entangled in Iranian trade, it is unlikely for Chancellor Merkel or President Macron to follow America’s example and abandon the deal anytime soon. Despite German Chancellor pledging her ‘commitment’ and country’s Foreign Minister vowing to keep the agreement ‘alive,’ President Trump’s decisive action has killed the deal. The sooner the European political and business elite realize it, the better.

Video: Ambassador Grenell discusses Germany and the Iran deal [May 5, 2018]

[Cover image via YouTube]


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They ultimately still depend on the US for survival. We’ll see how strong their resolve really is

If Trump’s serious, let him bring back the mandatory UN sanctions, which the EU courts will enforce whether their governments like it or not.

That tactic will just make them stiffen their backs. Idiot.

*But Trump is doing the right thing. The agreement was essentially to assist I ran into an exactly what they wanted to, with a white wash from the UN. We needed to drop that fiction, and President Trump did.

(((Boogs))) | May 9, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Millhouse, no need for UN action. Grenell is simply (and gently) warning Germany that it may soon have to choose markets: Iran or us. Far more effective than UN sanctions, which have decidedly mixed record of efficacy. I think the intent here is for Germany and others to lean on the mullahs in ways we can’t. It may not work but we’re in a win win: the mullahcracy has much bigger problems than Trump, and to avoid the worst of these (internal revolution or military coup) it may behoove them to return to the table.

Merkel manages to be wrong about absolutely everything. Some people have that knack. Why do so many of them end up in politics?

Too many Euros assumed a Hillary win, and acted as if Obama’s fantasy plan would continue. Not a ridiculous assumption, perhaps, but still a poor one.

When bad decisions turn out to be expensive, well, that’s just business.

Remember that France’s foreign policy with Saddam Hussain’s Iraq centered around appeasement and undermining American efforts in the hope that Iraqi sponsored terrorists would murder some other nation’s citizens.

Europe is irrelevant. Their condition is already terminal.

    4th armored div in reply to Fen. | May 9, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    their population will need to learn arabic and farsi.

    the french clothing industry will need to make designer hijabs etc.

    the german love for pig snouts and sausages and the french prawns will be a thing of the past.

    the brits will not be far behind.

European nations agreed to the stringent UN backed sanctions on Iraq’s Hussein government following Gulf War I. What happened? European companies, most notably Germany and France, along with the Russians and various high ranking UN officials ended up hip deep in the oil for food scandal as well as outrageous over charges for common articles. This ignores the billions of dollars in US Currency, much of it still in the original wrappings, found lying around in various palaces in Iraq. European businesses nave been ignoring sanctions forever. The only thing that has any effect on them is if they are shut out of the US consumer market. That hurts.

    tom_swift in reply to Mac45. | May 9, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    The only thing that has any effect on them is if they are shut out of the US consumer market.

    It will certainly set the “free trade” acolytes squawking. The very idea of using trade policy to advance national interests always does.

      Mac45 in reply to tom_swift. | May 9, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Trade is the one area where the US totally dominates the rest of the world. We can’t lob nukes around. We really can’t invade most countries [Syria being an exception]. So, if we shut other countries out of our market, which constitutes 27% of the consumer goods market in the whole, wide world, what happens to them? Maybe they can find other markets. maybe not. It hurts, badly.

        tom_swift in reply to Mac45. | May 9, 2018 at 6:28 pm

        Fine with me. “Free Trade über alles” isn’t my religion, fetish, or hobby.

        But I expect the MSM and Congress to wallow in noise (and political pressure) about it.

4th armored div | May 9, 2018 at 7:58 pm

the wonderful Europeans need to be told ‘you are either with us or against us’ –
we saved your bacon twice in 40 years – don’t plan on a third time if you screw us !

Merkel isn’t merely content with her delusions and rank ignorance destroying Europeean secular democracy via immigration; she is also content to accept Iran’s filthy luchre, in exchange for adhering to the fantasy of Iran as a responsible, sincere and good faith state actor that can be trusted, when its leadership and is past and current deeds indicate to the rational mind that it represents the opposite.

Anyone who, despite all evidence to the contrary, is still banging the drum for this vanity-driven, wilfully blind and self-deceiving, farcical Iran capitulation (not a “deal”) is a morally bankrupt fool who deserves the harshest condemnation.

If you think the Germans are not our ally now (and I do), wait until all those Muslim immigrants gain political power. Germany will once again be our enemy.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Dave. | May 10, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Muslims are a bigger threat than the Nazis. It was bad when they were an external threat, much worse when they are an internal threat.

When do we tell England and France?