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German Businesses Look to Cooperate with Iran Amid Tensions With Russia

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MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - German businesses are looking forward to renewing their contracts with Iran, as its relationship with Russia remains tense amid the situation in Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.

MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - German businesses are looking forward to renewing their contracts with Iran, as its relationship with Russia remains tense amid the situation in Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Iran is a big potential market for us, similar only to Turkey," the newspaper quoted Volker Treier, head of international trade at the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), as saying.

In November, the six world powers agreed on lifting international sanctions against Iran if the country gave assurances on the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. The parties should reach a final agreement by November 24, 2014.

"The market will explode when the embargo gets lifted," said Stephanie Spinner-Koenig, managing director of high-tech component maker Spinner GmbH and a participant in one of two German business delegations that visited Iran this year.

About 100 German companies have branches in Iran and more than 1,000 businesses work through sales agents. DIHK estimates German exports to Iran could quickly top $13.5 billion annually if sanctions are relaxed.

Even though many German companies see opportunities in Iran, few want to discuss them publicly, fearing that cooperation with the pariah country could damage the relationship between Germany and the United States.

The United States was Germany’s second-largest trading partners in 2013, while Iran ranked 55th.

Nevertheless, the newspaper highlighted the importance of German-Russian ties, stressing that about 300,000 German jobs depend directly on Russian exports.

Initially, German companies opposed sanctions against Moscow, which were imposed by the European Union and the United States in March, following Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

However, after a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crashed in Ukraine on July 17 killing all 298 people on board, German industry officials endorsed a new round of European and US sanctions against Russia implemented at the end of July.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict and called the language of sanctions counterproductive, warning that such measures would have a boomerang effect on Western economies.

Tags:
diplomatic relations, economy, cooperation, sanctions, export, embargo, business, EU, Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Volker Treier
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