BERLIN ( Associated Press) – The German government on Friday announced a formal suspension of export credits and guarantees for investments in businesses in Iran because of the country’s crackdown on protests.
The Economy Ministry said it had suspended talks on energy issues, along with other “economic formats” in view of the “very serious situation in Iran”.
Export credit guarantees protect German companies from losses due to non-payment for exports. Investment guarantees protect direct investments by German companies from political risk in the countries where they are created.
The ministry said the use of such financial instruments for projects in Iran was suspended for decades until a “brief preparatory phase” starting in 2016 as a result of Iran’s agreement with world powers, including Germany, over the nuclear program. He said guarantees were given or extended for some projects during that period, but no fresh guarantees have been given since 2019.
The German government has pledged to “completely suspend” the guarantees, he said, and exemptions will only be made for humanitarian reasons. The ministry said German-Iranian trade was to total 1.76 billion euros (about US$1.9 billion) in 2021 and 1.49 billion euros in the first nine months of this year.
Mass protests erupted in Iran in September following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in custody by morality police for allegedly violating the women’s dress code. They have demanded the overthrow of clerical rule and the authorities have suppressed the demonstrations.
The United States and the European Union have imposed additional sanctions on Iran for sending hundreds of drones to Russia over the brutal crackdown as well as for the war in Ukraine. Last month, a Germany-led meeting of the UN Human Rights Council condemned the action and created an independent commission to collect information.