Following a recent exclusive report by Iran International, Germany’s Export Control agency announced a probe into possible Iran sanctions violations by German firms.
In a response to a series of detailed questions from Iran International, including whether German companies violated US sanctions against Iran by attending the Iran Oil Show in Tehran, a spokesman for The Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) of the German government wrote that the agency “examines any existing possible approval requirements or restrictions due to sanctions in accordance with European and national law.”
It is unusual for BAFA to note in a response to alleged sanctions violations by German companies that it examines their compliance with laws penalizing firms for business with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The BAFA spokesman added “The Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Department of Commerce is responsible for examining the extent to which business activities in Iran are compatible with US sanctions.”
BAFA’s answers via a series of emails to Iran International suggest Germany’s government, which has garnered a reputation over the decades for lax enforcement of Iran sanctions and sales of technology that can be used for military purposes by Tehran, is scrambling to address the scandal.
The investigative report by Iran International revealed that the German manufacturer of turbomachines, JCL plant solutions, attended the 27th Iran Oil Show in Tehran. The US-sanctioned National Iranian Oil Company organized the May Iran Oil Show.
When asked if JCL plant solutions was granted permission by BAFA to attend the 27th Iran Oil Show in Tehran, the BAFA spokesman said “Please understand that BAFA cannot comment on individual export processes due to operational and business secrets. In this sense, these can neither be confirmed nor denied.”
The BAFA spokesman added “Information about companies' participation in trade fairs can only be provided by the companies themselves.”
A representative for the German engineering company JCL confirmed on the telephone to Iran International that the firm was present for a “form of interview” at the Oil Show.
Iran International obtained a copy of the Iran Oil Show handbook, which lists hundreds of Iranian and foreign companies allegedly present at the Oil Show. The US-based United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) organization furnished Iran International with the handbook.
The emblem for the German engineering company Heggel was listed at the end of each page of the 22-page Iran Oil Show handbook, with the company’s website and motto “You build. We Protect!”
Iranian dissidents campaigning against the Islamic Republic urged that sanctions be enforced against firms conducting business with Tehran.
Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident in Germany, told Iran International “I believe that the US must emphasize the importance of the sanctions on Iran and also put sanctions on all the foreign companies which violate these sanctions, because these companies inject more money into an organization which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US.”
Vojoudi, an associate fellow for the Gold Institute for International Strategy, added “These contradictory actions and statements from the EU countries which are democratic and care for the human rights and also for fair trade must have consequences. In statements they condemn the Islamic Republic’s human rights violations and executions of the protesters and political prisoners but in action they trade with the Islamic Republic and empower it and help it to survive.”
Last month, Iran International reported that the giant German engineering and manufacturing corporation, Bosch, sold 8,000 mass surveillance cameras to Iran’s regime.
Germany’s trade with Iran continues to boom. The Federal Statistical Office of Germany said German businesses exported 1.2 billion Euros worth of goods to Iran from January to the end of October in 2022. German banks continues to process payments for business deals with Iran.