BERLIN – The new president of Germany’s 105,000-member Central Council of Jews
in Germany, Dieter Graumann, launched on Monday a withering attack on German
companies, the Merkel administration and the country’s central bank for their
continued business deals with an Iranian regime that denies the Holocaust and
supports terror groups.
“That far too many German firms continue
unimpeded to conduct their repugnant business with the Iranian terror regime –
the reigning world champion in Holocaust denial – is unfortunately a fact, and
continues to be a crying shame,” said Dr. Dieter Graumann, in the Germany daily
Newspaper: 'German gov't, Iranian bank EIH circumvent sanctions'
In sharp terms, he criticized the Merkel
Administration for failing to include the EIH – the Hamburgbased
European-Iranian trade bank – in the EU sanctions list against Iran.
US Treasury Department deemed the EIH as one of the most important financial
conduits in Europe for Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. The Obama
Administration has also sanctioned the EIH.
According to a Handelsblatt
article on Tuesday, Merkel stopped EIH’s future (and the Bundesbank) processing
of India’s Iranian oil crude payments, but did not pull the plug on the EIH
financial operation, which continues to operate in Hamburg.
Administration spokesperson wrote to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, saying it is
“likely that in the discussion between the Federal Chancellor and Prime Minister
[Binyamin] Netanyahu Iran will also be a topic and, if necessary, the
implementation of Iran sanctions.”
The Indian oil payments working their
way through the German financial system total 9 billion euros, and Germany’s
Bundesbank has already reportedly transferred billions to Iran.
and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are slated to meet on Thursday in
Berlin.When asked if the the Merkel Administration will close the EIH, her
spokeswoman told the Post that the EU does not bar transactions with the EIH
because it is not included on the EU sanctions list.
Schick, the financial spokesman for the powerful opposition Green Party, said
Monday in the Handelsblatt: “Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Economics Minister
Brüderle must as fast as possible make sure that the EIH is finally in the EU
Merkel and Westerwelle have resisted the inclusion of
the EIH in the EU sanctions list during last year’s EU Iran sanctions
Additionally, Westerwelle’s apparent approval of billions
of euros in Iranian crude oil payments via the Hamburg-based EIH, has also
raised troubling concerns from the US Treasury Department.
“This bank should not be in the German banking world, this bank should be
prohibited. It has long been known that this institute is an instrument
and henchman of the Tehran regime, which provides the fanatic mullahs there with
significant financial means – with which they in turn finance hatred, terror,
death and the nuclear program there.”
An Israeli diplomat in Berlin told
the Post that the Israeli government took notice of the EIH scandal, and the
matter is being seriously discussed in the Foreign Ministry. Yinam Cohen, an
Israeli Embassy spokesman in Berlin, told the Post last week that the EIH bank
operation ought to be shut down.
Graumann lamented that the German
authorities have “persistently refused” to include the EIH on the EU sanctions
“If this attitude were now finally going to be corrected in
Germany, that would be more than appropriate,” said Graumann in the
Handelsblatt. “And that the German Bundesbank itself, which for me
personally is still almost sacrosanct, would stoop to concealing or promoting
business with this vicious regime – that I simply cannot believe. The federal
government should quickly and comprehensively explain what it has done, and has
In the e-mail on Monday to the Post, the spokeswoman for
Chancellor Merkel wrote, “Cooperation with Mr. Graumann is good and trustworthy.
He advocates for Jewish life in Germany with passion and great dedication, and
has gained great respect and broad sympathy. On the subject of sanctions, the
federal government was significantly involved in the establishment of the Iran
sanctions and implements the sanctions comprehensively and
Asked about Graumann’s criticism of the Bundesbank, Magnus
Mäkelä, a spokesman for Bundesbank, stated, “The question whether specific goods
are relevant to proliferation is determined by the responsible authorities in
the federal government. Oil deliveries to India are classed as not relevant to