(photo credit: Reuters)
BERLIN – German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle plans to advocate a ban on
Iranian crude oil to the European Union as part of a new round of December EU
sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic.
The Munich-based Süddeutsche
Zeitung (SZ) first reported on Monday about Germany’s concrete sanctions plans.
The left-liberal SZ wrote that a foreign ministry spokesman said Westerwelle
seeks “a fast and robust sharpening of the EU sanctions against
From Westerwelle’s perspective “it is regrettable, but [sanctions
are] the logical consequence of the continued Iranian attitude of rejection.”
Germany’s top diplomat said it is now time to dry up the financial sources of
Iran’s nuclear program.
Iranian oil exports to the EU amounted to 18
percent of Europe’s Iranian goods during the first six months of 2011. The vast
majority of Iranian crude oil is supplied to Italy, Spain and Greece.
SZ reported that Germany’s government will seek additional sanctions to sever
bank contacts between the EU and Iran. An EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting is
slated for December 1. The SZ noted that Germany wants the French to shut down
the operation of Iran’s Bank Tejarat, which continues to conduct transactions in
The Munich paper wrote that the proposed closure of Tejarat “is
an indirect answer to [Nicolas] Sarkozy” and the French president’s call to
freeze all foreign assets of the Central Bank of Iran. Germany’s list of
sanctions affecting Iran would involve European and French companies involved in
the automobile and transportation and logistical sectors, noted the
The paper cited a ban of technology which would allow Iran to monitor
Germany’s large engineering giant Siemens – along with
its Finnish partner Nokia – sold high-tech surveillance equipment to Iran’s
government in 2008. The German-Finnish equipment was used by Iran’s leaders to
stifle internet communications and block mobile calls among the pro-democracy
activists challenging the alleged fraudulent 2009 election.
If the first
eight months of 2011, Germany exported sophisticated technology and equipment
valued at $2.75 billion.
The Federal Republic has remained Iran’s most
important high-tech goods partner over the years within the EU.
wrote that as part of the sanctions, only export credits will be allowed for
EU-Iranian trade when dealing with food products. Many European governments
insure bi-lateral trade with Tehran with public tax monies. Meanwhile, the
Netherlands is pushing that the 27-member EU join England’s tough financial
sanctions against Iran. The United Kingdom severed its bank system from Iran’s
financial system, including a ban with the Central Bank of Iran.