BERLIN, 11 Dec. (IPS) The German-American giant car and truck maker Daimler-Chrysler is under investigation for some 453 units of truck-trailers sold to Saudi Arabia but surfaced in Iran, it was learned on Saturday 11 December 2004.
The dual-use heavy truck-trailers were originally sold to Saudi Arabia a year ago, but for still unclear reasons, they have been traced working for Iranian armed forces, the German State prosecutor said, adding that its agents, acting on information received last November, have searched offices of the company in Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Munich.
Informed sources said the reason the German Prosecutor is looking into the affair is that the sale of such engines to the Islamic Republic is forbidden under German laws.
The press department of the company has confirmed that the sale, worth some half a billion Euros, was concluded with a Saudi concern. “We don’t know how the trucks turned up in Iran”, a spokesman for the Daimler Chrysler said.
It is not clear who in Saudi Arabia organised the purchase and where the trans-shipping of the goods took place.
A landmark of German luxury cars and solid trucks, Mercedes Benz, has a long tradition of trade with Iran. Daimler Benz merged in 1998 with the American car maker Chrysler Corporation to form one of the world’s larges manufacturers of cars, trucks, trailers, engines as well as space industries.
According to this source, it was the company itself that alerted first the German authorities about the existence of the trucks in Iran, knowing well that the affair could create grave penal and financial difficulties for the company.
It is not clear who in Saudi Arabia organised the purchase and where the trans-shipping of the goods took place, but its disclosure, on the eve of an important meeting between senior Iranian officials with foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany scheduled for Monday 13 December in Brussels add to tensions between the two sides.
Though the meeting is about Iran’s nuclear activities and is a follow up of an agreement inked on 15 November in Paris between Tehran and the so-called European Union’s Big 3, but sources speculated Saturday that Iran would “certainly” bring up the matter.
“Iran is expected to ask Germany and its two other partner how they would help Tehran acquire sophisticated nuclear technology for peaceful purposes while it opposes the sale of trucks and containers because they can be also used in the army”, one Iranian analyst told Iran Press Service. ENDS IRAN DAIMLER CHRYSLER 111204