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Germany's exports to Iran rose in 2008

Source: Press TV

Germany's exports to Iran rose to 3.92 billion euros in 2008.

German exports to Iran rose last year despite a sharp cut in export guarantees Berlin offered to firms doing business with Tehran.

According to data from the Federal Statistics Office, German exports to Iran increased from 3.6 billion euros ($4.58 billion) in 2007 to 3.92 billion euros ($4.99 billion) last year, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Germany has cut credit guarantees for companies exporting to Iran in line with efforts to pressure Tehran over its nuclear program.

Figures provided to Reuters by a German economy ministry official showed the value of new government export guarantees fell to 133 million euros in 2008 from 503.4 million euros in 2007.

However, the data suggests German companies are stepping up efforts to continue trading with Iran although they no longer receive government backing in the event of 'possible non-payment'.

Some 1,700 German companies, including giants such as Siemens and the chemical group BASF, are currently working in Iran.

Germany, Iran's biggest trade partner in the European Union, has been under US and Israeli pressure to curtail its trade with the Islamic Republic.

The US and its allies accuse Iran of having military objectives in pursuing an enrichment program. Iran insists its nuclear program is solely aimed at generating electricity for its growing population.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to take 'a new approach' toward Iran's nuclear dispute, adding that diplomatic 'engagement is the place to start'.

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to Iran was hailed by some Western analysts as a new step toward resolving Iran's nuclear issue.

Others criticized Schroeder for putting business interests before political considerations, saying he had been sent by investors fed up with export restrictions.

... Payvand News - 02/25/09 ... --

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