Report: Iran, Germany to hold major economic conference

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Germany and Iran soon will hold their first economic conference in a decade in the wake of a deal with world powers over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, Iran's state-run news agency reported Monday.

However, the top German official in a delegation visiting Tehran warned Iran that threatening Israel and not respecting human rights could damage these nascent economic efforts.

An IRNA news agency report quoted Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying the conference will be held in late summer or early autumn. The last such event was held in 2002 before sanctions targeting Iran over its contested nuclear program.

The conference is aimed at laying the groundwork for businesses in both countries to do more work as sanctions are lifted.

The announcement came after Zanganeh met German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Tehran. Gabriel is heading a delegation of representatives from German companies.

On Sunday, Gabriel warned that other considerations also at play as Germany considered investing in Iran.

"Issues of human rights, civil rights of citizens and other individuals — and especially the security of Israel — are all of great significance for Germany," he said.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports anti-Israeli militant groups like Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah. On Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described Israeli in a speech as a "terrorist, baby-killer government."

The German delegation is the first to visit Iran after negotiators struck the nuclear deal in Vienna last week. Germany was among the six world powers involved in the talks.

Iran and the Germany have a history of economic ties dating back to the 19th century. Germany was Iran's first trade partner in 1990s. More than 200,000 Iranians live there.