German firm threatens to sack workers in Iran demos

1st August 2009, Comments 0 comments

According to the paper, a 34-year-old senior executive at Knauf, a German manufacturing firm active in Iran for decades, was arrested during Friday prayer demonstrations a fortnight ago.

Berlin -- A German firm operating in Iran has threatened employees with the sack if they take part in anti-regime demonstrations, the Wall Street Journal said Friday.

According to the paper, a 34-year-old senior executive at Knauf, a German manufacturing firm active in Iran for decades, was arrested during Friday prayer demonstrations a fortnight ago.

The regime told Knauf the executive would only be released if it wrote to its employees warning them against demonstrations.

"We would like to remind all of our employees to remember that they are not only representing their private opinion when being politically active, but their actions could fall back negatively on our Knauf companies in Iran," said the letter cited by the Journal.

"Therefore, from now on, if anybody from our company gets caught demonstrating against the current government, he or she will be immediately dismissed," the letter, dated July 21, said.

Contacted by AFP, the head of the company's Middle East operation refused to comment on the affair.

The author of the letter, Isabel Knauf, also declined comment when contacted by the Journal, saying only that the situation was "very complicated."

Germany, one of Iran's biggest trade partners, has been very critical of the violent clampdown on protest following President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in June.

Some 85 German companies have operations in Iran, including flag-carrier Lufthansa, engineering giant Siemens and chemical group BASF.

AFP/Expatica

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