German FM slated to propose Iran oil embargo for EU

Berlin seeks closure of Iran bank Tejarat in France.

November 30, 2011 07:51
2 minute read.
Guido Westerwelle

Guido Westerwelle. (photo credit: Reuters)


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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 Iran.”

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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.

The 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 France.

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 SZ.

The paper cited a ban of technology which would allow Iran to monitor communications.

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.

The SZ 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.

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