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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Germany's EIH bank funneled 9 billion euros to Iran

I have discussed Germany's Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank in Hamburg several times on this blog, most recently here. Thus far, the German government, which continues to claim that its national interest includes Israel's security, has refused to shut down the bank, which is one of Iran's last links to the European banking system. Now, it has been disclosed that in February, the bank cleared some 9 billion euros in Iranian oil transactions via EIH and Germany's central bank.
According to a front-page story in the main German business daily The Handelsblatt, “although President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s country is subject to strict economic sanctions by the EU and USA, Germany helps in circumventing them.”

Handelsblatt wrote that the Foreign Ministry – run by the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) – “rubber stamped” massive Iran oil transactions. The FDP is the party of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

India’s central bank informed Germany in February that it intends to conduct Iranian oil financial transaction worth 9 billion euros via the Bundesbank.

India has been transferring the funds in connection with its purchase of Iranian crude oil for several weeks to the Bundesbank, which serves as the international conduit for the EIH in Germany.

“Israel’s position remains: The EIH should be shut down,” Yinam Cohen, a spokesman for Israel’s Embassy in Berlin, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

According to the US Treasury department, the EIH, is “one of Iran’s few remaining access points to the European financial system. EIH has facilitated a tremendous volume of transactions for Iranian banks previously [blacklisted] for proliferation.”

In addition to financing Iran’s nuclear program, the Treasury Department asserts the EIH is also involved in Iran’s missile program.

When asked whether the Bundesbank is financing Iran’s nuclear program, Magnus Mäkelä, a spokesman for the Bundesbank, wrote the Post by e-mail on Thursday, “If an account holder asks the German Central Bank to make a payment that is permissible under these European Union regulations, the German Central Bank is required to carry out the transaction.”

Mäkelä declined to immediately answer Post’s questions via telephone and email regarding whether the Federal Bank has a responsibility toward the security of Israel and the international community. He said the Central Bank’s board of directors is reviewing the Post’s questions about the Bank’s Iran business and the deals endangering the security of Israel – as well as the Bank’s ostensible refusal to honor the German government’s security pledge toward the Jewish state because of the Holocaust.
Read the whole thing. These sanctions are a farce. Iran continues to push for nuclear weapons and the world pretends that shutting down everyone else's trade with Iran (except for 'ours') is going to solve the problem all but itself.

What could go wrong?

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