November 1, 2019
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration and a semi-government company are organizing trade affairs in the Islamic Republic of Iran that are circumventing US sanctions and may expose the German business to American economic penalties due to terrorism.
The European organization Stop The Bomb said in a Tuesday statement that businesses “involved in those fairs were in the past also companies that are affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] and the Iranian military. Those companies hold responsibility for the repression in Iran, destabilizing the region and threatening Israel. Through IMAG’s [International Trade Fair Service] fairs they gain recognition, profit and the possibility to initiate business deals globally.”
The United States government classifies the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. Stop the Bomb seeks to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program and improve human rights in the Islamic Republic.
Stop the Bomb spokeswoman Ulrike Becker said, “We think it’s unbearable that the German government and German companies are a leading actor in establishing business with the only regime which considers the annihilation of Israel a linchpin of its foreign policy. We call upon both the government and the companies: Stop your activities in Iran! There must not be any business with Iran until the regime stops the threats against Israel, its support of terrorism in the region, and globally and of course, its constant violations of human rights.”
Jerusalem Post press queries to IMAG’s managing director Peter Bergleiter, senior executive Gabriele Kraus, and the company’s public relations director Claudia Grzelke were not answered.
IMAG played a role in organizing the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago last year. IMAG is slated to organize Conexpo CON/AGG, “North America’s largest construction trade show,” which is held every three years at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada. The next Conexpo CON/AGG event is scheduled for March 10-14, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told the German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur in connection with German companies, “If you are doing business with Iran, you are giving money to the Iranian regime, which spends massive amounts of money on terrorist activities.”
US government officials have stressed over the years that European companies can do business with Iran or the United States but not both countries.
It is unclear if IMAG will discontinue its work with Iran’s regime or whether the US Treasury Department will sanction IMAG. The US State Department defines Iran’s clerical regime as the top state-sponsor of terrorism.
Stop the Bomb’s research said that IMAG claims it is “involved in eight fairs in the Islamic Republic of Iran and is therefore a leading organizer of international business with the Iranian regime. Three of those fairs start within the next 14 days: IIEE Energy fair is scheduled for October 30th, mining fair Iran ConMin starts October 31st, and IAPEX automobile parts fair is scheduled to start 9th of November.”
IMAG is a subsidiary of Messe München. The international Messe München GmbH company appears to be mixed public-private enterprise. Some of the proprietors of Messe München are the German state of Bavaria and its capital city Munich.
Stop the Bomb said it also objects to the activities of the “the Federal Ministry of Economics, which supports IMAG’s activities substantially and organizes German pavilions for fairs in Iran, among others for Iran Oil Show, IAPEX automobile parts fair and IIEE.”
In a letter to Bergleiter, Gabriele Kraus and Messe München chairman and CEO Klaus Dittrich, Stop the Bomb wrote: “The resurgence of trade after the signing of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] benefited, almost without exception, the authoritarian state, or the Revolutionary Guards, who are responsible for both the nuclear and missile program and repression within Iran. Trade with Iran thus neither leads to change in the interior, nor to stability and security in the region, but mainly fills the coffers of the Revolutionary Guards.”
The JCPOA is the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal that is supposed to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb. The US government withdrew from the deal because claiming that the agreement does not prevent Iran from building atomic weapons or the IRGC from spreading terrorism.