German exports to Iran soar after sanctions eased

A Siemens logo is pictured on an office building of Siemens AG in Munich May 30, 2014. REUTERS/Lukas Barth

A Siemens logo is pictured on an office building of Siemens AG in Munich May 30, 2014. REUTERS/Lukas Barth

Feb 24 (Reuters) – German exports to Iran jumped 30 percent last year to 2.4 billion euros, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Tuesday, bolstered by the easing of Western sanctions amid progress in talks on the country’s nuclear programme.

Germany is traditionally Iran’s biggest trading partner in Europe and last year’s increase, the sharpest in a decade, was driven by sales of machinery, agricultural and pharmaceutical products, the Office said. It did not say which companies had benefited.

German firms that had been forced to reduce their activities in Iran when the sanctions were tighter include Siemens . Others with business interests there include Bayer and utilities RWE and E.ON.

“At the start of 2014, some of the sanctions were eased so insurance for ship transport and the delivery of car and aircraft parts were allowed,” said Volker Treier, of Germany’s DIHK chambers of trade and commerce.

If Iran agreed a nuclear deal with western nations, the potential for German companies was great.

“In the next five years a doubling of exports is possible. In 2005, they reached almost 5 billion euros, we want to get back to that in the short term,” he said.

The United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany are seeking to negotiate an agreement with the Islamic Republic to address concerns that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons technology, something it denies.

By Reuters