Does Siemens’ move send a message on Iran sanctions?

January 27, 2010

nuclearWhen it comes to further sanctions on Iran, the clock is ticking relentlessly, even if those leading the drive — the United States, Britain, Germany and France — are giving little away in terms of timing or what might be targeted under any new, U.N.-agreed package.

Still, companies that do business with Iran appear to be getting the message that time is running out.

On Tuesday, German engineering group Siemens announced it would reject any further orders from Tehran, although it will meet exisiting ones. Siemens, which with French scientists began building Iran’s first civilian nuclear reactors at Bushehr in 1974, had sales of around 500 million euros in Iran last year, so its decision, while a tiny proportion of its global revenues, is not immaterial.

Siemens made its announcement less than 10 days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear she would back further, tough sanctions on Tehran, and two weeks after Swiss oil trading giant Glencore halted fuel sales to Iran as momentum towards tighter restrictions, made a priority by U.S. President Barack Obama early this year, gathered pace.

European Union foreign ministers met on Monday to discuss the issue, saying afterwards that an offer for Iran to export low-enriched uranium and have it converted into fuel abroad remained on the table, but that in the meantime Iran remained in violation of U.N. resolutions and that “time was running out”. Talks are to begin soon in New York on drawing up the specifics of any sanctions package.

So what exactly could the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany) do to try to bring its influence to bear on Tehran?

EU diplomats have hinted that any new package could include further restrictions on Iranian trade-finance banks, such as Bank Melli, possible moves against the central bank, the targeting of “companies and individuals” suspected of involvement in proliferation, and a ban on the export to Iran of technical equipment used in its oil export industry. Iran’s imports of petrol would not be targeted.

That may go some way towards checking Iran’s perceived recalcitrance, but even in the United States there is opposition among companies and businesses to further sanctions, not to mention reluctance on the part of Russia and China.

And from the point of view of senior officials in Israel, the country in the region most immediately threatened by Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is already time to start thinking about military action.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

Are you kidding . . . mideast_afp/irangermanytradetechnologyga s_20100120122431

The German are in a Billion Euro gas deal with Iran.

Posted by GenRUS | Report as abusive

I agrre undred per cent, German and Siemens has Billion Euro deals with Iran. In fact In spite of German Chancellor Merkel’s statement, Siemens is participating to supply products in Iran to Nargan company ( These products will be installed in two big chemical plants in Iran; LLDPE/HDPE/BUTENE-1 PLANT with the Mahabad Petrochemical Company and Lorestan Petrochemical Company. Products for gas analysis, will be supplied through the trading firm FIMCO FZE (, based in Dubai Jebel Ali Free Zone

Posted by undkus | Report as abusive

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

Posted by Tyler Lahaie | Report as abusive