Investigative Report: There is no relation between German companies/institutions and the "Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry." The fraudulent chamber plays a significant role in both economic and politics propaganda of the Islamic Republic.

    “Sending various business delegations to Germany in various occasions,
    Fast and successful entry into the German market.
    Meeting all needs, both as an exhibitor and a visitor in exhibitions.
    Legal services: Don’t worry about your legal issues in international business…” With these ads and information, “Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry” introduces itself on its official website.

    The logo of this “chamber” at the top of the page inspires “credibility”; It is derived from the logo of the group “The German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (“Außenhandelskammer” in German, also known by the abbreviation “AHK”)”.

    Top: Logo of “The German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHK)”, Bottom: Logo of “Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry”

    In the “About Us” section, the “chamber” refers to its 47-year history since it started working during the rein of the Late Shah, Mohammadreza Shah Pahlavi; it mentions its board of directors, consist of 12 members: 6 Iranians and 6 Germans.

    In the first line of the last newsletter published by this “chamber”, they express their “condolences” for the death of Ebrahim Raisi. 

    In the news section of their website, the latest news is an ad for the upcoming Islamic Republic’s “election circus”. The rest of the news of “chamber” is about the “blossoming” and “marvelous” economy situation.

    All this was enough to arouse the suspicion of  Christian Geinitz, reporter of “Frankfurter Allgemeine” in Germany.

    The newspaper’s head of economics department tweeted:

    We wanted to know why this “Economic Chamber” sends pro-regime messages. The answer was surprising: the chamber is fake!

    The reporter of Frankfurter Allgemeine followed up on the connections between this “Islamic Republic Fake Chamber” and “The German Chambers of Commerce Abroad”. The answer was: “Iran Chamber” has no connection with the German institution with 150 representatives in 93 countries, for many years.

    The spokesperson of the “German Chamber of Commerce and Industry” (DIHK) is annoyed that the fake “Iran and Germany” chamber uses their logo and name and says last October, in an official letter to the “Fake Chamber”, their lawyer has banned the use of the logo by them. But this ban is legally enforceable in Germany, not in Iran. In Iran, it is very difficult to implement the branding and trademark protection laws: “The Iranian office has nothing to do with the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and operates independently.”

    In the last two newsletters of the “Fake Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry”, we read about “sending of a trade delegation of the automotive industry, parts and related industries to Frankfurt and Stuttgart, Germany from September 7 to September 14”. Visiting the “Automechanika Exhibition” in Frankfurt, visiting “AMB Exhibition in Stuttgart” and visiting the production line of major German car manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, visiting Porsche Museum and a delegation vising the “InnoTrans” exhibition in Berlin in October, are among the programs of this “fake chamber”.

    Interestingly enough, none of the organizers of these economic events know about these plans. Frankfurt Exhibition in response to the “Frankfurter Algemeine” newspaper reporter wrote: “We have no knowledge of the mentioned delegations’ visit” and emphasized that the exhibition adheres to all “sanctions imposed or supported by the German government”. The answer of Stuttgart Exhibition is similar: “No one told us anything about sending a delegation”; Also, InnoTrans Exhibition in Berlin: “We are not aware of the delegation!” Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Audi have also announced: “They have not received any request for a visit from the Iranian delegation.”

    The e-mail addresses of the German members of the “fake chamber” board are decorative. No email could be sent.

    In the “Premium Partners” section of their website, “Lufthansa” airline’s logo can be seen. After following up by Frankfurter Allgemeine, the company has announced that it has asked “fake chamber” to remove Lufthansa’s name.

    Frankfurter Allgemeine, in its investigative piece, reports not only the German economy sector, but also “Amnesty International Germany” is very upset and disturbed about this issue. Lena Rohrbach from “Amnesty International Germany” says: “Contrary to the image the Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry evokes, the Islamic Republic cannot be treated like a normal partner like other countries. Unbelievable human rights violations are being committed there. The regime is responsible for torture, mistreatment, oppression of dissidents, women and minorities, as well as for a high number of unjustified executions. The “condolence” message about Raisi’s death which was covered in the “Fake Chamber” newsletter is very disturbing for Rohrbach: Raisi was “directly involved in the disappearance and extrajudicial executions of thousands of political dissidents in the 1980s” and in many other atrocities, or “supervised them.”

    In addition to these violations, fraud and falsification of name and identity, which were mentioned in Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper investigation; our research also shows the illegal activities of the “Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry” are not limited to the “economic sector”.

    This “fake chamber”, using the false credibility it has gained from its name and logo, cooperates with the regime’s propaganda machine on political issues in sensitive times.

    For example: after the Islamic Republic’s missile attack on Israel, Europe and the United States announced they would make the sanctions against the regime more severe and widespread. On April 17, 2024, Reuters published the fake chamber’s position against sanctions, the chamber which not only has no legal stance, but is illegal and fraudulent. In the article, announcing the opposition of the “Iranian German Chamber of Commerce” to the sanctions, it was stated: “As always, calls for new sanctions come fast, but they serve to mask Europe’s lack of influence rather than be part of a solution […] key players still in Washington and the role of Beijing is increasing day by day.”

    The fake chamber’s news-making, which was reflected by a credible international media, was immediately put out by the IRGC-affiliated news agencies and Islamic Republic institutions, such as FarsNews and Hamshahri news agencies, Tehran Times, etc.:

    In propaganda studies, there is a model called “legitimizing source model”. In this model, which depicts the method of injecting “false information” or “propaganda position” by propaganda devices, the propagandist (P) first plants the message (M1) secretly at the news source (P2), without the audience (R) being aware of it. The news source (P2) analyzes and interprets the message and publishes it as message(2) (M2). Now the propagandist receives and interprets M2 and presents it to the audience (R) in the form of message (3) (M3).

    Legitimizing Source Model. Source: Propaganda and Persuasion, O’Donnell & Jowett, 2012

    In the above case, “Iranian German Chamber of Commerce and Industry” plays the propagandist (P) role and “plants” the news in Reuters; the news which the regime’s propaganda machine translated, analyzed and added other points to it and gave it to the audience.

    Shahin Asghari, the head of the “Fake Chamber”, in his latest tweet, without referring to the committed violations, “expressed his happiness” that the Fake is having its best days under his supervision:

    Maybe he doesn’t know that the days of “legal activity” of this “propaganda chamber” are numbered.

    Fake Iranian-German Chamber of Commerce & Its Role in Regime’s Propaganda


    • Fraudulent use of AHK's logo to buy credibility
    • German companies, exhibitions and institutions unaware of the "chamber's programs"
    • The fake chamber plays a significant role in Islamic Republic's propaganda machine of both economic and politics.