TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Armin Laschet, the powerful governor of the largest German state North Rhine-Westphalia, was quoted by media as indicating in an interview that companies in his state were unwilling to stop trade with Iran.
During a visit to Israel, Laschet refused to comment on whether North Rhine-Westphalia had any plans to halt business with the Islamic Republic in a sign that could show his state favored the continuation of trade with the country.
The official even refused to acknowledge that his state would outlaw Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement.
Laschet – who is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party - referred to remarks by his interior minister who told the Jerusalem Post in 2017 “associations that support Hezbollah can presently be banned, if financial support [for them] is provable.”
Following a decision by US President Donald Trump in August to restore sanctions against Iran, indications grew in Berlin that German businesses were unhappy about what they saw as a unilateral decision by Washington to ban trade with the Islamic Republic.
On the same front, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the United States is in no position to tell Berlin with which countries it can do business, vowing support for companies doing business with Iran.
Altmaier made the remarks in an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, emphasizing that Berlin would not let the Washington dictate its trade rules on it.
Earlier, German economy ministry had announced that it would upport companies over their Iran business activities in face of returning US sanctions and also warned that EU firms – including enterprises in Berlin – could sue the administration of President Donald Trump if they suffer losses due to sanctions.
Reuters quoted a statement by Germany’s economy ministry as saying that Berlin would offer export and investment guarantees for companies doing business with Iran.