Germany to cut economic aid from firms dealing with Iran

German Chancellor Angela Merkel instructed Economics Minister Michael Glos to stop issuing government guarantees to German enterprises trading with Iran, Handelsblatt reported on Monday. The newspaper reported that the move was seen as a response to growing criticism from Germany's partners, primarily Israel and the US, on the fact that German-Iranian commerce had significantly grown over 2008, despite UN sanctions on nuclear-ambitious Iran. According to Handelsblatt, Germany's new sanctions join similar British and French measures aimed at backing US President Barack Obama's position of increasing non-military measures against Iran in order to force it into diplomatic talks.