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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Questions to the CEO of the German company Linde, regarding Linde's business in Iran

STOP THE BOMB shareholders asked critical questions regarding Linde's business in Iran at the annual shareholder meeting of Linde on May, 4th 2010. CEO Wolfgang Reitzle and board member Aldo Belloni answered to questions of STOP THE BOMB. Linde has private as well as state-run business partners, mainly in the petrochemical area. The CEO confirmed that Linde did a study on a LNG-project (Liquified Natural Gas) in Iran for a "major chinese customer". He thereforme confirmed that the knowledge of Linde is the basis for the exploration of Iranian gas.

See the full statement on the German site.


Questions regarding Linde's Iran business, posed at the annual shareholder's meeting (15 May 09)

As shareholders of the Linde AG we ask the board of directors:

  • In which projects in Iran is the Linde Group involved?
  • Are there any contracts about gas deliveries from Iran?
  • What size is the trade volume of the Linde Group with Iran?
  • How many employees are there in Iran?
  • Are any of these deals secured by Hermes guaranties from the German state?
  • What are Linde’s trade partners in Iran? Are there Iranian-state companies among them?
  • Is Linde in any business contact with companies that belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps?
  • Is it correct that Linde has signed a contract with the Iran LNG Company about the delivery of the liquification-unit? What is the status of this delivery?
  • What is the position of the Linde board on the fact that with Khatem-ol-Anbiya Contruction and Sahel Consultant Engineering two companies are part of the Iran LNG project that belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps?
  • On June 30 2008 the Chemical Week wrote that the „National Petrochemical Co. (NPC; Tehran) has appointed Linde to carry out preliminary engineering work on the planned Persian Gulf Petrochemical olefins complex at Assaluyeh, Iran.” Is this correct? Did Linde sign a contract with the NPC? What exactly is the volume and the content of this deal?
  • How is supporting the Iranian regime by selling urgently needed technology for the crucial energy sector to Iran consistent with Linde’s Code of Ethics? The Iranian regime is guilty of severe human rights violations and the support of terror.
  • How can especially a German company make deals with a regime that threatens to destroy Israel, denies the Holocaust und spreads Anti-Semitism?

Fact Sheet: The Linde-Group in Iran (April 2009)

April 2009

According to the financial report 2008 (PDF) the „Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 52,000 employees working in around 100 countries worldwide. In the 2008 financial year, it achieved sales of 12.7 billion euro.“

Linde at a glance” states: „The strategy of the Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in everyone of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe.“

The Linde Group is supplying important infrastructure for the energy sector of the Islamic Republic of Iran for years. The energy sector, the production oil and gas, is the central power base and source of income for the Iranian regime.

On September 6 2009 the German Handelsblatt e.g. reported on deals with the National Petrochemical Company worth 180 and 350 million Euro.[3]

In July 2005 Linde made a deal with the Iranian-state National Petrochemical Company (NPC) worth 400 million Euro.[4] But the deal was cancelled from the Iranian side in April 2006.[5]

After this time there is hardly anything to find in official Linde sources about Iran. In the financial report 2008 and the Linde Annual 2008 Lindes Iran business isn’t even mentioned. But there are many signs for Lindes activities in Iran, especially for the year 2008.

For example, Linde Group is active in various sectors in the Iran LNG Project, a project for gas liquification in the south-west of Iran at the biggest gas field of the world, South Pars.[7] According to project manager Ali Kheyrandish – who speaks of “Imam Khomeini Followers” – Linde on March 18 2008 has signed a contract on the errection of the „Liquification-Unit“, the „last and most essential part of the project“. Linde's registered Mixed Fluid Cascade Process Technology (MFC) is also part of the deal.

LNG stands for Liquified Natural Gas. The technology allows the decreasing of the gas volume and thus makes it economically reasonable to transport it in tanks. The dependence on pipelines decreases, and gas can be sold to customers all over the world. Thereby, the income of the Iranian regime would rise, while the vulnerability to sanctions would sink.[10] It is not clear whether Linde has already started working on the project, because on March 25 2009 a report on Iran LNG says that „Germany's Linde has been chosen as the technology supplier, but will not go ahead in the current geopolitical climate.“

Also part of the Iran LNG project are companies that belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is not a solely military organization, but are in control of up to 70% of Iran’s industry. Especially in key sectors like energy it is hardly possible to do business without working together directly or indirectly with the IRGC. The IRGC forms the ideological as well as the organizational core of the Iranian regime, especially in the last years they massively increased their sphere of influence.[12]

At least until late April 2008 the Khatem-ol Anbiya Construction Organisation appeared on the Iran-LNG-Website.[13] The Decicion 2008/475/EC (PDF) of the Council of the European Union from June 24 2008 says about Khatem-ol Anbiya Construction Organisation: „IRGC-owned group of companies. Uses IRGC engineering resources for construction acting as prime contractor on major projects including tunnelling, assessed to support the Iranian ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.“

The name Khatem-ol Anbiya Construction Organisation has now been replaced by Sahel Consultant Engineering [15], a company that is as well as Khatem-ol Anbiya on the US-terrorlist [16]: “According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, owned or controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its leaders; added to the Specially Designated National (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on October 25, 2007, freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems; managing director is reportedly Shokouh Abdi-Mehrdad.” [17]

On June 6 2008 an interview with Gholam Hossein Nejabat, president and vice chairman of the state run Iranian National Petrochemical Company (NPC) appears on the Dow Jones Newswire. He explains Linde’s role in supplying technology despite US sanctions: "So far the limitations caused as a result of sanctions have failed to produce effects on our financing and business deals," he said. […] "So far we have been able to secure financing, thanks to the credibility of NPC itself," Nejabat said, declining to name the company's financing sources. Nor has NPC had problems securing technology for its plants despite sanctions and U.S. pressure on companies doing business with Iran. "We haven't faced any constraints in securing whatever technology we sought to acquire since the U.S. technologies are also offered by other countries and we utilize them to do our job," Nejabat said. "We are receiving technology from such companies as Basell, Technip SA (13170.FR), Linde AG (LIN.XE) and Uhde and many others," he added.

On June 30 2008 the Chemical Week reports „National Petrochemical Co. (NPC; Tehran) has appointed Linde to carry out preliminary engineering work on the planned Persian Gulf Petrochemical olefins complex at Assaluyeh, Iran, CW has learned. Linde will prepare cost estimates for the complex, also known as Olefins 12, which will be based on very heavy feedstock, J. Ebrahimpour, director of projects at NPC, tells CW.”

On July 17 the US Department of Justice announces that Cryostar SAS, which is part of the Linde group, has been sentenced to $500,000 criminal fine and two years probation for role in conspiracy to export cryogenic submersible pumps to Iran.

Like in 2008 Linde AG participated on April 22.-25. 2009 at the big industrial fair „Iran Oil & Gas Show“ in Teheran.

On April 27 2009 the Iranian Farsnews-agency reports that Linde belongs to the German companies that are „involved in major Iranian infrastructure projects, specially in the petrochemical sector“.

In the April 29 issue of the Jerusalem Post Linde-speaker Uwe Wolfinger confirmed that Linde was “active in the Iranian petrochemical sector” and participated in a German-Iranian business meeting in Germany


[7] Linde-technology will be used for „Liquefaction, Refrigeration, Fractionation, Nitrogen Rejection and Nitrogen Purification“. 

[10] Managing director Ali Kheyrandish explains the meaning of the LNG-technology as follows: “The ILC [Iranian LNG Corporation] PROJECT has the aim of liquefying natural gas in order to export 2  billion cubic feet out of 3 billion cubic feet produced sour gas per day from south pars phase12.  Regarding to liquefaction, we should mention that the natural gas has an expensive and considerable transportation cost comparing with the total production cost. By liquefying the gas volume is reduced up to 600 times, which means that the transportation cost will tremendously lower. Since the transportation plays a key role in the price of gas, it results in a considerable additional cost for it. Formerly, there were not any criteria for considering the transportation value for the international gas price; therefore the price in various parts of the world was quite different. Any how, liquefaction does not seem to be reasonable for distances between the source and destination is less than 2000 miles, but when the distance exceeds 2000 miles it is more economic the use of liquefaction rather than investing on pipelines.  That is why, ILC have decided to produce for targeting markets in the distance of more than 2000 miles away, like Far East countries such as the eastern coast of China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, European or American countries.”

[12] Informations on their dominant role in Iran’s economy can be found here.

[13] PDF-Screenshot from April 28 2008.

[16] Fact Sheet: Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism


German Government supports business in Iran of the Linde Group with Federal Credit Guarantees

The German Linde Group continues to do business in Iran's energy sector and is supported by Federal export credit guarantees known as Hermes Cover. This was Linde's board of director's answer to critical questions of shareholders at the annual shareholders meeting on 15 May in Munich. Members of the coalition STOP THE BOMB that is calling for effective sanctions against the Iranian regime protested in front of the International Congress Centre where the shareholders meeting took place.

Board member Dr. Belloni confirmed that Linde is involved in Iran's national gas liquefaction project (LNG) with the state owned National Iranian Oil Company. Belloni stated that the annual sales volume for Linde's business in Iran amounts to 91 Mio in 2008. The Linde Group endeavours to attract new deals in Iran's energy sector: A pre-investment study for an ethylene plant is transferred to the Iranian state-owned National Petrochemical Company (NPC).

Belloni rejected the accusation of working in close cooperation with Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). However, the webpage of Iran's LNG project mentions Linde AG as well as Sahel Consulting (Rah Sahel) to be parties involved in the project. Sahel Consulting belongs to the IRGC and has been included in the US list of banned terrorist groups. Iran's Revolutionary Guards form the ideological and organizational core of the Islamic Republic and are backing the nuclear and ballistic programme. The IRGC are in control of up to 70% of Iran’s industry. It is therefore hardly possible to be involved in Iran's energy sector without direct or indirect cooperation with the IRGC.

Linde's projects in Iran were covered by Federal export credit guarantees, the volume in 2008 amounts to 16,5 Mio. Euro. "This policy of the Federal Government is noncredible and scandalous", said Ulrike Becker of STOP THE BOMB. While the German Government on the one hand time and again calls upon German companies to voluntarily abstain from business in Iran and chancellor Angela Merkel 2008 at the Israeli parliament spoke out for "further stricter sanctions" against the Iranian regime, the Government on the other hand supports business in Iran's energy sector through the cover of the so called Hermes guarantees. These deals directly support the Iranian government. "The huge revenues in the gas- and oil business are the basis of the Islamic Republic of Iran without which the dictatorial religious government could not survive", stated Ulrike Becker. STOP THE BOMB therefore calls upon the Federal Government to impose clear sanctions against business with Iran's military or energy sector that are distinctively regulated by law.

Berlin, 17 May 2009



Linde Group in Iran

STOP THE BOMB protested at the annual shareholder's meeting on 15 May 2009 STOP THE BOMB inside and outside the meeting; critical shareholders posed questions regarding Linde's business in Iran. Please find the answers of the CEO on this page, and our press statement. You also find here important information on Linde's business in Iran. Jerusalem Post and the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on the case.