How not to answer a question 1

The Wall Street Journal reports on the excellent trading relations European firms have with genocidal Iran. 

The worst offender among European states is Germany, and the worst offender among German companies is Siemens:

Yet because of the sheer volume of its trade with Iran, Germany, the economic engine of Europe, is uniquely positioned to pressure Tehran. Still, the obvious danger of a nuclear-armed Iran has not stopped Germany from rewarding the country with a roughly €4 billion trade relationship in 2008, thereby remaining Iran’s most important European trade partner. In the period of January to November 2008, German exports to Iran grew by 10.5% over the same period in 2007. That booming trade last year included 39 "dual-use" contracts with Iran, according to Germany’s export-control office. Dual-use equipment and technology can be used for both military and civilian purposes.

One example of Germany’s dysfunctional Iran policy is the energy and engineering giant Siemens. The company acknowledged last week at its annual stockholder meeting in Munich, which I attended, that it conducted €438 million in trade with Iran in 2008, and that its 290 Iran-based employees will remain active in the gas, oil, infrastructure and communications sectors.

Concerned stockholders and representatives from the political organization Stop the Bomb, a broad-based coalition in Germany and Austria seeking to prevent Iran from building a nuclear-weapons program, peppered Siemens CEO Peter Löscher with questions about the corporation’s dealings with the Iranian regime. A Stop the Bomb spokesman questioned Siemens’s willingness to conduct business with a country known for its human- and labor-rights violations, ranging from the violent oppression of women to the murder of gays to the repression of religious and ethnic minority groups. The spokesman referred to Siemens’s Nazi-era history as an employer of forced labor from the Auschwitz extermination camp and asked how, in light of the corporation’s Nazi history, the company could support an "anti-Semitic and terrorist regime" that threatens to wipe Israel off the map.

Mr. Löscher replied to the 9,500 stockholders in Olympic Hall that, "For Siemens, compliance and ethics have the highest priority, including where human-rights issues are involved." Yet, after further questions from the Stop the Bomb spokesman, he acknowledged that Siemens and its joint partner, Nokia, had delivered state-of-the-art communications surveillance technology to Iran last spring. 

Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Friday, February 6, 2009

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  • roger in florida

    Reading this post I am reminded what a fantastic Co. Siemens is. They spend on R & D, they are ruthless marketers, they chase opportunities wherever they may be. 290 employess generate E438M in sales, that is a fantastic achievement.

    And through all this the German Govt. supports its golden geese like Siemens. What a pity our pathetic “leadership” in Washington DC doesn’t do the same for our Cos. Instead they starve our golden geese through high taxes, force them to provide health and other benefits more properly provided by the State and malign them when they do make profits, no wonder there is a flight of capital from the US.

    As for the stop the bomb idiot, that is no business of Siemens.