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Europe/Iran: Political Ties Worsen But Oil Companies Plan No Changes

Tehran, 11 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - European governments continue to recall their ambassadors from Iran following a German court ruling that directly links the Tehran government to terrorism. But European oil companies said today they have no plans to withdraw investments from the country.

Finland today joined Germany and Sweden, which have already recalled their envoys. The EU yesterday called on all 15-member states to recall their ambassadors from Iran after a German court ruled that Tehran had ordered the 1992 murders of Kurdish activists in Berlin.

But a spokesman for France's Total, which has major oil and gas projects in Iran, said the company would continue with business as usual. Anglo-Dutch giant Shell said it would continue negotiating with Iran on developing its large gas reserves despite worsening political ties.

Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani today called the German court ruling "scandalous." He said Germany, which is Tehran's largest trading partner, would "suffer" the consequences.

Several thousand protestors marched to the German Embassy in Tehran today, chanting "Death to Germany" and hurling stones and tomatoes at the building. Iranian police in riot gear prevented the marchers from storming the building.