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Monday, December 06, 2021

The press on protests against ThyssenKrupp

Handelsblatt - Trade relations: German companies fight for their business in Iran (January 22, 2010, German)

Jerusalem Post - 'Nazi-era corporate behavior repeated' (January 21, 2010)



German business with Iran: The example ThyssenKrupp

The ThyssenKrupp Group has had a particularly close relationship with Iran in the past.  The Iranian state became an investor in ThyssenKrupp in 1974.  The Iranian Vice Minister for Economics and International Affairs, Dr. Navab-Motlagh, was a member of the Supervisory Board until 2005.[1]  He was not nominated for re-election at the end of 2004 due to fears that business with the United States would be lost.[2]  The Iranian state was also the third largest shareholder in ThyssenKrupp through the state-owned Iran Foreign Investment Company (IFIC) with a packet of shares of 7.8%.  In this case again, pressure from the American government led the company to reduce its holdings to a 4.5% share in the company in 2003.[3]  However, IFIC still holds these shares, and in 2007 alone the Iranian state collected €18.5 million in dividends through IFIC.[4]  ThyssenKrupp has a subsidiary in IranThyssenKrupp Assanbar.[5] (Capital stock: 51%)

ThyssenKrupp’s subsidiary, Uhde, is particularly active in Iran's energy sector.  Its main activities are in the planning and construction of chemical and industrial plants as well as in the oil sector.  According to Iranian sources, in 2008 Uhde was one of the main companies involved in the Jam Petrochemical Assaluyeh Olefin Project.  The project plans to build one of Iran’s largest olefin plants with planned final production capacity of 1,320,000 tons per year.[6]  Uhde is also currently the licensor for the construction of another petrochemical plant in Assaluyeh.[7]  Uhde also reports on its own website that it is currently involved in the construction of a PVC plant in Bandar Imam (Uhde once again holds the license).[8]  In March 2007, the Dow Jones News and the Iranian news network Press TV reported that several companies had signed a contract to build a €1.3 billion refinery in the Isfahan region, and Uhde and the German company Lurgi are involved in the project.  The Iranian client is the National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Co., a subsidiary of the Iranian Ministry of Oil.[9]  Uhde was also frequently involved in building petrochemical plants in previous years.

Some older projects are:

  • The German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce reported Uhde’s involvement in building a petrochemical plant in Iran in 2005;[10]
  • Uhde built a PVC complex in 2003;[11]
  • Uhde concluded seven business agreements for the modernization of cement plants in Iran between 2003 and 2007.[12]
  • It has to be mentioned, even if only in passing, that ThyssenKrupp is known for the manufacture of martensite hardened steel, which is needed to build centrifuges for military uses.[13]

What does the management of ThyssenKrupp think about its responsibility concerning its close relationship with the dictatorial and antisemitic regime?  When asked in an interview with the Jerusalem Post in April 2009 whether Germany has a special responsibility to Israel, company spokesman Klaus Pepperhoff answered that it does, but "whether a company has a special responsibility I cannot say off the top of my head."[14]

It’s no wonder that, in light of this longstanding cooperation, a spokesman of Iran’s state-run NPC (National Petroleum Company) responded to the United States’ economic sanctions with derision.  Gholam-Hossein Nejabat said, "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 (…).  We receive technology from such companies as Basell, (...) Linde, Uhde and many others."[15]

From these examples, it is extremely apparent that the close cooperation between high technology German companies and Iran cannot be so easily replaced by other countries.

[1] "ThyssenKrupp: Abschied von den Mullahs", manager magazin, January 21, 2005,,2828,337949,00.html

[2] "Das Bauernopfer im Aufsichtsrat von Thyssen Krupp", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 9, 2004.

[3] Annual Report ThyssenKrupp 2003/2004, p. 166.

[4] "Berlin Faces Hurdles in Push to Get Business Out of Iran," Spiegel online, November 20, 2007,,1518,518503,00.html

[5] See ThyssenKrupp Annual Report 2007/2008, p. 230. ThyssenKrupp Assanbar is mentioned as a fully consolidated subsidiary and has the number 412 in the "Anteilsverzeichnis". (list of September 30, 2008)

[6] See website of Sazeh Consultants,, most recently consulted at December 8, 2009 and the news portal SteelGuru, "Iran to inaugurate 10th olefin project," Steelguru, June 22, 2008,, last viewed on December 8, 2009.

[7] According to Sazeh Consultants, the customer is the Iranian Borzooyeh Petrochemical Company. See the Sazeh Consultants website,, last viewed on December 8, 2009. Licensing agreements play a very large role in industry and trade in order to grant rights of use to commercial industrial rights to third parties under defined conditions. Licenses are granted, in particular, for the use of patents, patented designs, brands, know-how or software. An example of this are licenses in the construction of automobiles and airplanes. The licensee is given copies of the construction plans and the company holding the license often helps the licensee start up production.

[8] See Uhde website,, last viewed on December 8, 2009.

[9] Compare "Uhde und Lurgi vor 1,3-Mrd-EUR-Raffinerie-Auftrag aus dem Iran", Dow Jones News, March 16, 2007,; Press TV, March 15, 2007,

[10] "Uhde baut Petrochemieanlage in Iran", DIHK Nachrichten No. 51/05, January 17, 2005,

[11] "Uhde baut PVC-Komplex in Iran", DIHK Nachrichten No. 17/2003, September 1, 2003,

[12] Klaus-Reiner Esser (ThyssenKrupp press office), "ThyssenKrupp Fördertechnik profitiert vom boomenden iranischen Zementmarkt. Brech- und Mischbettanlagen für rund 17 Mio. €",

[13] In 1990 ThyssenKrupp received a patent for the production and converting of martensite hardened steel, which is needed to build centrifuges for military uses.

[14] Benjamin Weinthal, "Germany's Schröder promoting trade with Iran", Jerusalem Post, April 29, 2009.

[15] "Iran seeks top petrochemical spot in ME", PressTV, June 16, 2008,


Protests at the ThyssenKrupp annual meeting

Bochum: Stop the Bomb protests against ThyssenKrupp's trade with Iran 

21 January 2010: STOP THE BOMB activists will protest at the RuhrCongress-Halle in Bochum (Stadionring 20) starting at 8.30 a.m. until 10.30 a.m. against ThysssenKrupp's business in Iran.

More information soon on this webpage!