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Germany’s Siemens pulling out of Iran

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KRAKOW, Poland (JTA) — The German engineering corporation Siemens will no longer conduct business with Iran.

The major firm announced its decision at its annual shareholders meeting Tuesday.

The announcement came shortly after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that she was seriously considering tougher sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which has failed to cooperate on disclosing its nuclear ambitions.

Siemens CEO Peter Loscher said the firm would no longer take orders from Iran, aside from bids that were open from last fall.

Other companies, however, are slow to follow suit, according to reports.

Merkel reiterated her position at a news conference Wednesday with Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying the U.N. Security Council would be discussing the issue of increased sanctions in February.

According to news reports, Germany also is pressuring chambers of commerce throughout the country to stop organizing seminars on how to increase business with Iran.

According to Reuters, the Siemens decision has not yet found resonance with other German companies, which earned some $4.6 billion for goods sold in Iran in the first 11 months of 2009, about 8 percent less than the year before. There has been a drop in banking ties and trade in machinery, but an increased interest in Iran’s natural gas resources, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, an Israeli Foreign Ministry document obtained by Ynet revealed that European trade with Iran continues, the Web site reported Thursday.

According to the report, Germany and Italy are out in front on commerce with Iran, with France next. The document, reportedly based on EU figures, shows a total trade of $91 billion with Iran since 2006.

In the first half of 2009, the volume of trade was approximately $14 billion. Of that, $2.8 billion was in trade with Germany, followed closely by Italy and France.
 

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