Smaller German businesses can still obtain letters of credit (L/Cs) to do business with Iran from banks in Germany, despite US sanctions that have made L/Cs hard to obtain from banks across the world according to a report published last week by United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).

While making this claim, UANI does not support it with any evidence of actual transactions the banks have participated in since 2018 when Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian entities, including banks.

L/Cs available claim

"Siemens, Volkswagen and the big multinationals have pulled back due to US sanctions, but many of Germany's 3.5 million small-and-medium enterprises are still prepared to do business with Iran. And they still can," according to UANI's research director, Daniel Roth.

"From Hamburg in the north to Munich in the south," smaller firms in Germany's industrial regions "can obtain L/Cs bank guarantees, insurance and all the other trade finance products they need from their Iranian facilitators," he reckons.

Banks in Germany

Roth goes on to describe the activities of four directly or indirectly Iranian state-owned banks - Bank Melli, Bank Sepah, European Iranian Handelsbank, and Bank Sadarat - over recent years.

The research director also notes the activities of recently established Middle East Bank (MEB) in Germany and wonders why, unlike the four state-owned banks it is the only Iranian bank he names that is not subject to secondary US-imposed sanctions.

Roth does not mention that MEB is owned by small private shareholders and focuses on humanitarian trade with Iran.

About UANI

UANI describes itself as a not-for-profit, bi-partisan, educational and advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons.

Some critics disagree with that description. Professor emeritus of economics at California, Sasan Fayazmanesh, described UANI as a neoconservative organisation.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.