Iran General NewsINTERVIEW-German industry sees sharp drop in exports to Iran

INTERVIEW-German industry sees sharp drop in exports to Iran

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Reuters: German exports to Iran will fall sharply this year as a sweeping purge of officials at Iranian ministries and state companies is causing contracts with German firms to dry up, a leading industry group said on Wednesday. BERLIN, Jan 25 (Reuters) – German exports to Iran will fall sharply this year as a sweeping purge of officials at Iranian ministries and state companies is causing contracts with German firms to dry up, a leading industry group said on Wednesday.

Germany is the top exporter of goods to Iran. In 2004, German companies exported goods worth 3.6 billion euros ($4.43 billion) and an estimated 4 billion euros in 2005, according to the German Chamber of Industry and Trade (DIHK).

“For 2006, we expect a significant decline of exports,” Jochen Clausnitzer, head of the DIHK’s Near and Middle East Department, told Reuters.

Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been purging high-level officials in companies and ministries, he said.

“As a result, there will be very few orders won (by German companies),” Clausnitzer said, adding that the DIHK was lobbying the German government to pursue every possible negotiated solution to the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

The West accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy programme, a charge Iran vehemently denies.

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