BERLIN – The European-based Stop the Bomb coalition demonstrated in front of the European-Iranian Trade Bank headquarters in Hamburg on Thursday and called for the closure of EIH because it has been abetting Iran’s nuclear proliferation and missile programs.
More than 20 activists protested, and many held banners reading “Stop the EIH terror bank,” “Free Iran now” and “No business with the Iranian regime.”
Stuart Levey, who is spearheading anti-terror measures across the globe
for the US Treasury Department, said earlier this month, “As 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.”
Michael Spaney, a spokesman for the Stop the Bomb, told The Jerusalem
from Hamburg that EIH is “involved in Iran’s nuclear and military
A spokeswoman for EIH declined to comment to the Post
on the Stop the Bomb protest.
The EIH posted a statement on its website saying “Defamatory accusations
by the US Treasury unilaterally putting European- Iranian Trade Bank AG
(EIH) on its blacklist of sanctioned Institutions appear to be without
These allegations are politically driven and without substance.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused a request from US President
Barack Obama’s to shut down EIH’s operation in Hamburg, the
International Herald Tribune reported last month.
The New York-based Leo Baeck Institute, which researches German Jewish
history, honored Merkel on Tuesday in Manhattan with the institute’s
prize for promoting “German Jewish reconciliation” and support for
Merkel said in her speech, “Our expectations from Iran include that it
recognize the security and existence of the State of Israel. Both are
never negotiable for Germany.”
When asked if she is contradicting her promise to Israel by refusing to
close the EIH, a spokesman for the Merkel administration said the
chancellor’s office is reviewing the Post query.
The London-based Leo Baeck Institute director referred a Post telephone
query to the New York office. Calls to the New York branch were not
returned because of the Succot holiday.
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a German-Iranian expert on Iran and a Fellow at
the Brusselsbased European Foundation for Democracy, told the Post on
Thursday that a former board member of the EIH, Dr. Pashaee Fam, is
currently the director of Bank Sepah and previously worked for Bank
Melli. Wahdat- Hagh’s research revealed that Fam was active with EIH
until August 2010, and that he previously oversaw financial operations
for two Iranian banks – Melli and Mellat – linked to Iran’s sanctioned
Wahdat-Hagh said EIH established branches in Teheran and in Kish, on
Iran’s Persian Gulf coast, in May 2008, in which Bank Mellat had a 35
percent stake, and was slapped with sanctions.
The UN placed sanctions on Bank Sepah because of its ties to Iran’s
nuclear program, and the European Union blacklisted Bank Melli for
carrying out financial transactions for Iran’s nuclear and ballistic
Bank Sepah supports Iran’s military, according to Wahdat-Hagh.
He said the German bank regulatory system ignored Fam’s connections to
EIH and Melli, as well as his work for another sanctioned bank, Mellat,
before his arrival in Hamburg.
Meanwhile, the Essen-based international steel and defense company
ThyssenKrupp AG announced on Thursday that it will no longer enter into
deals with Teheran.
“By halting business with Iran we are supporting the sanction policies
of the Federal Republic of Germany, the European Union and the US,”
Chief Executive Ekkehard Schulz said in a statement on the company’s
website. Iran owns 4.5% of ThyssenKrupp.