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German Iranian forum to boost ties in steel and automobile

IRNA reported that the western German city of Düsseldorf was the scene of a major one day German & Iranian business forum on Monday.

Mr Ali-Reza Sheikh Attar Iran's Ambassador said that representatives of around 200 German companies and numerous Iranian industrial managers will discuss ways to further boost bilateral industrial ties, especially in the sphere of steel and automobile.

The meeting in Düsseldorf will focus on joint investment opportunities, increasing bilateral trade volume and cooperating in the area of common markets in places like Iraq, Latin America and Afghanistan.

The German & Iranian business forum has been organized by the influential German Near and Middle East Association whose honorary chairman is former Chancellor Mr Gerhard Schroeder.

Economic relations between Germany and Iran have flourished in 2008 despite the imposition of western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program. German exports to Iran surged 10% to reach around EUR 4 billion of 2008.

Faced with the worst recession since the Great Depression of 1929, German companies have been furious at Chancellor Angela Merkel for bowing down to US and Israeli pressure to tighten Berlin's sanctions against Tehran. They are afraid of losing Iran's lucrative market to competitors from France, Spain, Italy, China, Russia, India and Malaysia.

The expanding bilateral business ties come amid fierce political pressure by the Germany's powerful pro-Israel lobby to force Berlin to cut its traditional trade links with Iran over the impasse in the Iranian nuclear dispute.

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