»The agreement now offers the opportunity to end the long-standing conflict with Iran and to enhance security in the entire Middle East region,« former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is also honorary chairman of the German Near East and Middle East Association (NUMOV), explained. »With political agreement being reached, the door is now open again for economic cooperation and trade. And this can pave the way to more security and trust, to rapprochement between our societies and long-term cooperation,« Schröder continued.
The public opinion research institute Forsa recently examined the German population’s attitudes to cooperation with Iran. It conducted a representative survey aimed particularly at finding out how the German people think Germany’s relations with Iran should develop once agreement in the nuclear conflict has been reached. Forsa surveyed more than 1,000 German citizens for the German Near East and Middle East Association (NUMOV) on behalf of Wintershall between 26 and 30 June 2015. As the survey shows, the solution to the nuclear conflict with Iran now reached in Vienna reflects the wishes of the great majority of Germans: 85 percent welcome the normalization and improvement in relations with Iran.
As part of the deal, the West will lift sanctions on Iran, which will make economic cooperation possible again. The Germans believe this economic cooperation will offer important opportunities, both for further improving political relations as well as for the supply of natural resources and energy to Europe. However, the Germans are still somewhat mistrustful of Iran. Only 21 percent see the country as mostly trustworthy. In contrast, 71 percent remain dubious.
According to the new Forsa survey, over two-thirds of Germans (70 percent) are in favor of German companies conducting business in Iran and intensifying economic cooperation once the sanctions have been lifted. Among the people who advocate such involvement, about 80 percent would like to see the German business community in Iran supporting the training of young people and the development of infrastructure in particular. Some 70 percent would like the companies to promote cultural understanding, the transfer of knowledge and the strengthening of Western values such as democracy and freedom of speech. In addition, a good 60 percent believe that German companies should also concentrate on the exploitation of the natural resources that are needed in Germany.
Crude oil and natural gas play an especially important role – for Iran is among the countries with the largest resources of oil and gas in the world. Once the sanctions have been lifted, German and other European companies could help to produce from Iran’s major energy deposits. As the Forsa survey reveals, a clear majority of 70 percent of Germans are in favor of such participation in Iran’s energy sources.
The cooperation, which will be possible thanks to the deal reached in the nuclear conflict, will generally benefit both sides, the Germans believe. The majority of Germans believe that cooperation is good for Iran – for the economy there (67 percent), the state (62 percent) and the people (61 percent). But a majority of 54 percent also believe that the German economy will likewise benefit from the nuclear conflict being resolved.
Another important point from the German perspective is that good economic relations ultimately also have a positive effect on political relations. Hence, 73 percent of the German population believe that the political relationship between the West and Iran will continue to improve thanks to good economic partnerships.
A detailed fact sheet on the Forsa survey is available at: www.numov.org and www.wintershall.com