German-Austrian company helps develop Iran pipeline

The company's involvement may violate US and EU sanctions barring the supply of technology to the Islamic Republic.

Gas pipeline along Iranian border 390 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Gas pipeline along Iranian border 390 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
BERLIN – ILF Consulting Engineers, a German-Austrian company, confirmed on Monday that it is providing “advice and planning” work in the technological development of an Iranian-Pakistan pipeline project.
The German-Austrian involvement may violate US and EU sanctions barring the supply of technology to the Islamic Republic.
“Advisory and planning engineers” are working on the project, Rüdiger Ophoven, a spokesman for ILF’s gas and oil department, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. He stressed that ILF is only involved in the Pakistani side of the project.
The Pakistan paper The Nation reported on Sunday that “according to the secretary of petroleum, Pakistan has offered $250 million to a German company, ILF Engineering, for laying the gas pipeline inside its territory.
The gas pipeline would be completed till 2014, the secretary added.”
Iran’s Persian- and English-language press reported extensively on the pipeline project and Germany’s role in its development.
When asked about the value of ILF’s contract, Ophoven told the Post that such a project is “less than 10 million euros.”
He said he did not know if ILF’s legal department had examined whether the deal violated US, UN or EU sanctions.
The United States pressed Pakistan in 2009 to refrain from entering into a pipeline agreement with Iran. However, the Pakistani government moved forward with its Iranian partners.
Austria and Germany are considered by experts in Europe to be the weakest links in the enforcement of the sanctions regime targeting Iran. Germany remains Iran’s most important EU trade partner, with an annual bilateral trade of roughly 4 billion euros.
Ophoven could not confirm or deny whether German regulators had approved the deal with Pakistan.
Nasrin Amirsedghi, a leading German-Iranian intellectual and a close follower of trade relations with Tehran, told the Post on Monday that chief executive officers of companies look “for a way to circumvent” the sanctions.
She criticized ILF’s explanation that it has a contract only with Pakistan.
“Do we want to prevent an atomic catastrophe in the Middle East? Do we want to support Israel and the Iranian people? Then all European and Western governments should end their diplomatic, cultural and scientific relations with Iran — the cancer of terrorism and war in the region,” Amirsedghi said.
She added that by severing relations with the Islamic Republic, the “sanctions will have an effect.”
Ophoven told the Post that the project entails a “1.5- to 2-year phase,” and there may be additional phases. ILF is providing the Pakistanis with “state-of-the-art technology” that deals with the know-how to build the pipeline project, he said.