German Firms Aligning With US on Iran Nuclear Exit, Macron in the Cold
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Just a bit ago US 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 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 say they will follow “applicable international rules and regulations,” while still examining the consequences of President Trump’s action.
Amb. Grenell, in his Tweet Tuesday, warned German companies doing business in Iran to “wind down operations immediately,” as US sanctions will “target critical sectors of Iran’s economy.”
This means the companies will abide by “the rules of the government of US President Donald Trump” because “no one wants to endanger the much larger US market for ‘a few Euro’ in Iran.”
German firms exported EUR 2.97-B, or $3.6-B in goods to the Iran, while exporting EUR 111.5-B, or $133.18-B in goods 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 Y 2016, compared to 10-B worldwide
- Industrial service provider Bilfinger says it wants to handle only smaller orders with Iran before a 90-day deadline hits.
Amb. Grenell 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.”
Amb. Grenell noted that the US 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 US Ambassador said he spent 8 years in the United Nations, but it only takes “1-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 Amb. 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 Amb. Grenell. “But the good news is the EU3 knows there is a threat, and they would like to do something more than the JCPOA.”
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 mark just 0.2% of all German exports.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said that President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the nuclear deal with Iran was “a mistake.”
Expect Mr. Macron to align France’s Iran policy with that of the US, sooner rather than later, as France cannot be on the outside looking in.
Have a terrific weekend.