Merkel’s deputy in Tehran to talk business
Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is in Tehran for high-level economic and trade talks with Iranian officials.
Sigmar flew to Tehran on Sunday at the head of a delegation of “representatives from companies, industry groups and the sciences,” his ministry said in a statement.
Gabriel, who is also Chancellor Merkel’s deputy leader and energy minister, embarked on the three-day trip to hold talks with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and several ministers following Tuesday’s landmark nuclear conclusion between Tehran and the P5+1 countries – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.
The German minister said in a statement that the nuclear conclusion had laid the groundwork for “normalizing economic ties with Iran.”
The head of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Eric Schweitzer, who is accompanying Gabriel, called the trip “an encouraging sign” for companies barred from doing business with Tehran over Western sanctions.
Schweitzer called for German companies to be given legal protection for upcoming investments made in Iran.
Iran and Germany have historically been close trade partners, but bilateral trade slowed as a result of the sanctions, declining to 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion) last year from around eight billion euros in 2003-2004, according to German figures.
Schweitzer said bilateral trade could quadruple in the next two to three years to around 10 billion euros.
Based on the nuclear conclusion, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the removal of sanctions, including all economic and financial bans, against the Islamic Republic.