BERLIN– The German government said on Friday it was officially suspending export credits and investment guarantees for businesses in Iran following the authorities’ crackdown on protests.
The Economy Ministry said it had also suspended other “economic formats”, including a dialogue on energy issues, given “the very serious situation in Iran”.
Export credit guarantees protect German companies from losses when exports go unpaid. Investment guarantees are granted to protect direct investments of German companies against political risks in the countries where they are made.
The ministry said the use of these instruments for projects in Iran had been suspended for decades until there was a “short opening phase” from 2016 following the deal of Iran with world powers, including Germany, over its nuclear program. He said guarantees had been granted or extended for a few projects during that period, but there had been no new ones since 2019.
The German government has now decided to “completely suspend” safeguards, he added, and exemptions can only be granted if there are strong humanitarian reasons. German-Iranian trade totaled 1.76 billion euros (nearly $1.9 billion) in 2021 and 1.49 billion euros in the first nine months of this year, the ministry said.
Nationwide protests erupted in September following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, detained by vice police for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women. They have since turned into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics. Authorities have sought to quell protests and step up pressure on critics.
Since the protests began, the United States and the European Union have imposed additional sanctions on Iran for its brutal treatment of protesters and its decision to send hundreds of drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine. Germany pushed for a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council last month that voted to condemn the crackdown and create an independent fact-finding mission.