BERLIN – Germany is facing escalating criticism from local anti-nuclear
activists and a sanctions expert in the United States for blocking tough EU
sanctions against Iran, and specifically for not acting against the
Hamburg-based Iranian EIH bank, which allegedly supplied Teheran with over a
billion dollars for its nuclear and missile program.
The German chapter
of the nonpartisan organization Stop the Bomb issued a statement in advance of
Monday’s EU conference to finalize the new round of sanctions, saying, “The
German negotiators are trying to enforce terms that would rob the sanctions of
their penetrating power.
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“Germany is pushing for financial sector
exemptions in this new sanctions package, despite resistance from other EU
partners. Germany is trying to weaken British and French sanction demands, which
target Iranian banks in Europe and the European banks doing transactions with
them,” Stop the Bomb wrote.
“If Germany has its way, German banks
operating with Iranian financial institutions wouldn’t be heavily affected by
Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for
Defense of Democracies, and a former US Treasury Department official with an
expertise in sanctions, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, “The EIH was
designated by the US Treasury because it is owned and controlled by Iran and
because it reportedly enabled Iran’s illicit nuclear activities. If Europe is
serious about shutting down Iran’s nuclear network, it really does not have much
of a choice but to follow suit.”
Michael Spaney, a spokesman for Stop the
Bomb, said, “If the German federal government was to strip the sanctions of
their potential crippling effects, it would undermine the international efforts
to stop the Iranian policy of aggression.
“Germany’s leading role in
trading with Iran and its years of appeasement has made the Iranian regime an
ever-growing danger. If sanctions do not succeed in preventing Iran’s nuclear
bomb, then it is to a large extent the fault of Germany,” said
Stop the Bomb said that “With annual exports reaching €4 billion,
Germany is at the forefront of exporters to Iran.
In particular, the
German hitech exports to Iran in the energy sector cannot be replaced by
“Stop the Bomb sees this German- Iranian business relationship
as essential support for Ahmadinejad’s regime. In the first four months
year, German exports to Iran increased 13 percent, according to the
German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce.”
Germany’s failure to address Iran’s
human rights violations was also a subject of the Stop the Bomb
“Appeals from Paris and London for tougher Iran sanctions have
been rejected repeatedly by Berlin. After the bloody suppression of the
opposition in the summer of last year, a British attempt to impose
penalties was blocked by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Britain wanted to
withdraw the European ambassadors from Iran. Merkel objected to these
The international community views Germany’s role in the Iran issue with
increased criticism,” Stop the Bomb said.
The Foundation for Defense of
Democracies’s Emanuele Ottolenghi and Mark Dubowitz, writing in The Wall
Journal on Tuesday, also emphasized the importance of tough EU
years, Europe has been criticized for its lucrative business deals with a
that threatens Israel with nuclear annihilation, sponsors terror around
globe, and brutalizes its own population. Now, the rest of the world
watching how the EU expands on June’s new round of UN sanctions, in both
substance and implementation. The EU is Iran’s largest trading partner,
whatever it does will become a ‘ceiling,’ particularly for Gulf and
countries that are unlikely to do more. That’s why it's so important
finally gets it right,” they wrote.