Tags: Iran | grenell | germany | iran | nuclear

German Firms Heed Trump on Iran as Ambassador Gets Results

German Firms Heed Trump on Iran as Ambassador Gets Results
Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador Richard Allen Grenell, left, and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier pose for photographers during an accreditation ceremony for new ambassadors in Berlin on May 8. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 12 May 2018 02:33 PM

Less than a week after new U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell faced backlash for a tweet calling on German companies to cut ties with Iran, a new report says the nation's companies are starting to cut ties after President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal.

According to the German newspaper BILD, 11 German exporters who do business with Iran have said they'll follow "applicable international rules and regulations," while still examining the consequences of Trump's action.

Grenell, in his tweet on Tuesday, warned German companies doing business in Iran to "wind down operations immediately," as U.S. sanctions will "target critical sectors of Iran's economy."

This means, according to a translation of the BILD report, the companies will abide by "the rules of the government of U.S. President Donald Trump" because "no one wants to endanger the much larger U.S. market for 'a few Euro' in Iran."

According to BILD, German firms exported  2.97 billion Euros in good (or $3.6 billion U.S.) to the Iran, while exporting 111.5 billion Euro in goods, (or $133.18 billion U.S.) to the United States.

Some of the companies involved include:

  • Airbus: Will not deliver 97 planes that have been ordered. The company still has a total of 7,000 aircraft orders.
  • Henkel, BASF, Linde and Siemens each make less than one percent of their sales in Iran.
  • VW has sold a total of 1,600 of their vehicles in Iran since 2016, compared to 10 million worldwide
  • Industrial service provider Bilfinger says it wants to handle only smaller orders with Iran before a 90-day deadline hits.

Grenell, speaking with MSNBC host Hugh Hewitt Saturday, said he has heard from many people who supported his tweet.

"What I tried to do is to say that the German business community shouldn't do this," he said about dealing with Iran. "The German government gets to decide what the business community here will do, and the individual companies get to decide how they react."

Grenell noted that the U.S. government's position is that the "Iranians are a country and regime that we shouldn't be doing businesses with. We think that the Europeans should follow suit on that."

The new ambassador said he spent eight years in the United Nations, but it only takes "one day" to realize Germany and the United States "are on the exact same side," but there are times when the countries disagree, including on pulling out of the Iran deal.

"I will say this, though. If you look at the EU3, the European Three statement that came out after the Americans withdrew from the Iran deal, it's very encouraging near the end," said Grenell. "Certainly in the beginning, they say they're against us pulling out of this Iran deal. But if you look down further, the EU3 makes a very important statement about the threat of Iran. We are in total agreement that Iran is a threat."

The United States, he added, believes that the Iran deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is "not good enough," while Europe believes it is."

"Yet I think they are even beginning to move to say we would like to strengthen it, and so we now find ourselves in competing dialogue about how far to strengthen it," said Grenell. "But the good news is the EU3 knows there is a threat, and they would like to do something more than the JCPOA."

Meanwhile, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio on Friday that Germany stands ready to help its firms continue doing business, reports Reuters.

"We are ready to talk to all the companies concerned about what we can do to minimize the negative consequences," Altmaier said. "That means, it is concretely about damage limitation," and will include offering legal advice.

Overall, around 120 companies operate in Iran with their own staff, including Siemens. Further, another 10,000 German companies are in trade with Iran, and last year, exports to Iran rose to 3 billion Euros, or $3.57 billion, marking just 0.2 of all German exports.

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Less than a week after new U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell faced backlash for a tweet calling on German companies to cut ties with Iran, a new report says the nation's countries are starting to cut ties after President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull...
grenell, germany, iran, nuclear
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2018-33-12
Saturday, 12 May 2018 02:33 PM
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