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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Why sanctions against Iran don't work: Exhibit A - Germany

The story's headline is that the German government has admitted to funding a conference in June at which former Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani called for Israel's destruction. Larijani was also quoted as saying:
Denial of the Holocaust in the Muslim world has nothing to with anti-Semitism. And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never denied the Holocaust.
That the German government would sponsor a conference like this is despicable, especially given the country's Nazi past. But what's even more revealing is why the country sponsored the conference. You see, Germany is trying to curry favor with Iran, with which it does some four billion euros per year of trade. That's right four billion euros.
A weeklong investigation by the Post indicates that the German government has been intensifying its business and political relations with Iran in 2008. With the exception of 2007, Germany has remained Iran's No. 1 European Union trade partner over the years. Economists attributed the decline in 2007 to private-sector complications in Iran, and not to German political policy.

In the first quarter of 2008, Iranian-German business mushroomed to €1.35 billion, an 18% increase when compared with the first four months of 2007. Germany supplies a technology-starved Iran with sophisticated equipment for its energy sector and growing infrastructure. Total German export trade to Iran has consistently hovered around €4b. each year.

Merkel has talked about tightening the economic screws on Iran, but her informal policy to discourage trade has not curtailed the strong economic ties between the countries.

Siemens, the electrical giant, maintains a robust yearly trade of between $500m. and $1b. with Iran. The German company Wirth, according to Emanuele Ottolenghi, director of the Transatlantic Institute in Brussels, "sold tunnel-boring equipment to Iran for its Ghomroud water project." While such heavy earth-moving machines can be used to build underground nuclear weapons facilities, the German government approved the deal for the machines, which critics consider to be a telling example of "dual-use" equipment.

Germany's regulatory agency BAFA is required to block deals involving certain "dual-use" goods, which can be used for military and civilian purposes. According to terrorism and regulatory experts, Germany has failed to clamp down on the sale of "dual-use" goods to Iran.
Germany is not Russia or China. It doesn't raise its hand in the UN Security Council to veto sanctions against Iran. It isn't providing nuclear fuel or anti-aircraft systems to Iran. It is even considered (along with Italy) one of Israel's best friends on the European continent. Its leader, Angela Merkel, is particularly admired by Israelis. And yet, business is business. And despite a sincere American push for sanctions, Germany is doing four billion euros per year of business with Iran, which includes 'dual use' equipment.

It's time to drop the pretense that sanctions work altogether. They don't. If it were any country other than Israel that was being threatened with annihilation, 'sanctions' would have been dropped as a response a long time ago. Israelis and Americans have to realize that - unfortunately - the only way to stop Iran is militarily.


At 12:19 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Right on, Carl! If diplomacy and sanctions worked, then Iran would have accepted Western offers of assistance on a truly peaceful nuclear energy program. If that was Iran's true intention, it would have grasped it with both hands. Instead, it contemptuously rejected them, underlining that its real goal is building a nuclear bomb. German trade with Iran or not, Israel is not going to put up with Iran's going nuclear. The world shouldn't be surprised when Israel finally does move to stop Iran.


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