SearchGermany Wants to Support Iran with Its Reforms

Germany Wants to Support Iran with Its Reforms... 05/10/2016 Politics

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Germany wants to help Iran push ahead with reforms, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday, adding he believed the Islamic Republic was a reliable credit partner as he courted closer trade ties.
“Our aim is to support the current government with its path to opening up to the world,” Gabriel said in Tehran, adding he would raise topics such as Iran’s role in the war in Syria, Israel and legal state issues with the Iranian leadership.
Gabriel said Iran was a reliable credit partner that kept agreements as a rule.
Gabriel has flown to Iran for a two-day visit with a planeful of executives who are keen to rebuild trade, but remaining U.S. sanctions and political concerns have so far held back a hoped-for business boom.
Siemens signs Iran rail contract as Germany drums up business
By Gernot Heller
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Germany's Siemens signed a contract to upgrade Iran's railway network on Monday, one of several deals agreed by German firms during a two-day visit to Tehran by Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Gabriel has flown to Iran with a planeful of 120 managers who are keen to re-establish business relations with the Islamic Republic after it reached a landmark deal with world powers last year to scale back its disputed nuclear program.
But political concerns, and a range of U.S. sanctions still in place, have so far held back a hoped-for business boom.
Siemens said it will supply components for 50 diesel-electric locomotives to Iran. It did not disclose the value of the contract, but based on comparable deals, it could be in the low hundreds of millions of euros.
The economy ministry said several firms from the Mittelstand, the small-to-medium-sized companies that form the backbone of the economy, had also signed deals with Iranian partners. These included SMS group, a builder of steelmaking plants, and INTRA industrial solutions.
In addition, Mitsubishi Germany has signed a contract to modernize a gas-fired plant, while plant constructor Keller HCW wants to build a brickyard in Iran, it said. Both countries' central banks have also agreed to technical co-operation.
There was no detail on the size of the agreed deals.
Iran's Deputy Economy Minister Mohammad Khazaei said earlier that 10 economic agreements would be signed on the sidelines of Gabriel's visit. "I hope that this will smooth the way between both countries," he said.
Germany, which has commercial and cultural ties with Iran that go back to the 19th century, was for decades a major trading partner of Tehran before the sanctions allowed China and several other nations to overtake it.
While industrial firms such as Siemens are keen to benefit from opportunities in Iran, Gabriel has warned Tehran that to normalize ties it must accept Israel's right to exist and stop what he called Iran's decisive role in the Syrian civil war, where it has intervened to support President Bashar al-Assad against Western-backed rebels.
The German banking sector has been reluctant to underwrite business deals for fear of falling foul of remaining U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran for what Washington says is Tehran's money laundering, support for terrorism and human rights abuses.
Gabriel said earlier that Germany wants to help Iran push ahead with reforms, and promised to remind the United States of its commitment to reduce sanctions against Iran.
He also said that Iran was a reliable credit partner that kept agreements as a rule.
German exports to Iran jumped 15 percent in the first half of the year to 1.13 billion euros and could reach 4 billion euros in the full year, said Michael Tockuss, head of the Hamburg-based German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce.
(Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
German firms have signed a range of business deals with Iranian partners as part of two-day visit with Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel aimed at rebuilding trade ties. As Sonia Legg reports, the links between Germany and Iran go back a long way.
Iran, Germany expand economic ties
In his visit to Iran, Sigmar Gabriel, German minister for economic affairs and energy, announced that Germany will put the US under pressure to reduce the US sanctions against Iran ...
Conservative lawmakers slam German economy minister over Deutsche remarks
Oct 4 Conservative lawmakers lashed out at Germany's economy minister on Tuesday for attacking Deutsche Bank's chief executive, saying the minister's job was to support the country's biggest bank, not talk it down.
Sigmar Gabriel, the economy minister and leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, criticised Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan for blaming speculators when the bank's share price plunged last week.
"I did not know if I should laugh or cry that the bank that made speculation a business model is now saying it is a victim of speculators," Gabriel told reporters on a plane to Iran.
Hans Michelbach, a senior member of Merkel's conservative bloc, called Gabriel's remarks "pretty counterproductive."
"As German economy minister, your task is to promote Germany as a place to do business and not to bad-mouth individual market participants," he told the newspaper Handelsblatt.
Germany needs Deutsche Bank, which employs around 100,000 people, if its export-orientated economy is to fulfil its potential, Michelbach added.
"Therefore, it's inconceivable that Mr Gabriel could let himself get carried away with such comments," he said.
Deutsche Bank has been engulfed by a crisis of confidence after the U.S. Department of Justice demanded last month that it pay up to $14 billion to settle claims it mis-sold U.S. mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis.
The threat of the penalty has pushed the bank's shares to record lows. It is pushing to reach an agreement for a much smaller settlement, to reverse the stock sell-off and help to restore confidence.
Gabriel said he was worried for the people who worked at the bank, but conservatives accused him of playing politics.
"I'm not just worried about employees, but also about the German economy," Joachim Pfeiffer, the spokesman on economic policy for the conservatives in parliament, told Reuters.
Attacking the bank when it is in a period of consolidation is not clever but "cheap," conservative lawmaker Michael Fuchs told the Passauer Neue Presse. "The economy minister is abusing his office to do party politics," Fuchs said.
With elections due next year, German politicians have little appetite for helping Deutsche Bank, after its pursuit of business abroad left it facing billions of euros in penalties for wrongdoing.
In an Emnid survey for Focus magazine on Saturday, 69 percent were opposed to state aid for the bank, with just 24 percent in favour. (Reporting by Caroline Copley; Additional reporting by Andreas Rinke; Editing by Larry King)
---Germany wants to help Iran push ahead with reforms, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday. ---

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