Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Protests against the German Business Association BVMW and German-Iranian Business Congress in Berlin

STOP THE BOMB Press Release
A conference to promote German-Iranian business relations took place under protests today in Berlin. The Congress with the title "Iranian Business Women Power" was attended by the Iranian ambassador Sheikh Attar. The event was promoted with the support of the Association of Medium-Sized Companies (BVMW).
The BVMW published a press release yesterday and rejected any responsibility for the event. The association claimed that the BVWM was neither the promoter nor the organizer of the conference. The European campaign STOP THE BOMB, which is directed against the Iranian nuclear program, criticizes the BVMW: "The press release of the BVMW is a shameful statement. The association does not act according to its responsibilities. The connections between the BVMW and the conference organizer EIVENT are very close and well documented. While the most recent IAEA report shows that the regime in Tehran is building the atomic bomb and is active in all essential areas of the construction of nuclear weapons, the German middle-sized companies with the BVMW at the top continues to expand its business with the Iranian regime. This is irresponsible, and German politicians must finally find an effective strategy to prevent its medium sized companies from supporting the Iranian regime." [1]
In a letter to the members of the political advisory council of the BVMW, STOP THE BOMB had urged the politicians to take steps to prevent the event. Members of the political board of the BVMW are Wolfgang Gerhard (Liberal Party FPD), Dagmar Wöhrl (Christian Democrats, CSU), Brigitte Zypries (Social Democrats, SPD) and Cem Özdemir (Green Party) and others.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center also issued a press release critical of the conference. "Every German politician who visited the congress violates the sanctions against the Iranian regime, which were established by Germany, the EU, the United States and the United Nations," the Center said. Seminars such as this conference aim at promoting closer business ties with Iran, particularly in the energy sector, an area targeted by EU sanctions. This became evident in a recent event with the Iranian ambassador in Berlin, which took place at the German Foundation on Foreign Relations (DGAP). STOP THE BOMB had protested against this event, too.
About 40 people demonstrated at the conference in front of the Seminaris Hotel in Berlin and demanded tougher sanctions against Iran. STOP THE BOMB urged the Board and the Advisory Council of the BVMW to cut its ties to lobbyists like Mir Durandish and the organization EIVENT immediately and stop advertising business with Iran.
[1] The newspaper of the BVMW called "Der Mittelstand" stated in its most recent edition 4.2011: "The BVMW and Iran's ambassador Ali Reza Sheikh Attar want to strengthen economic relations." Compare: www.eivent.de/pdf/bvmwanz1.pdf. The article also states: "The BVMW with four employees in its Tehran office supports interested companies with information and free initial consultation, explained Mir Durandish." EIVENT organizer Mir Durandish is speaking at various events for the promotion of business in Iran speaking for the BVMW, see for example an event in September 2011 in the German city Senftenberg http://www.bvmw-lausitz.de/de/veranstaltungen/2011/september/rh0709/info.html

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