New U.S. Ambassador to Germany calls on companies to end Iran trade

Grenell is sharp critic of Iran's nuclear program and a strong supporter of the Jewish state.

May 5, 2018 01:34
4 minute read.
US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at t

US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, 2017. (photo credit: POOL)


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Richard Grenell, the newly confirmed US ambassador to Germany, said in an exclusive interview with Fox News on Thursday that German companies should stop trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran because Tehran sponsors terrorism.

When asked by Fox News' Martha MacCallum on her show "The Story with Martha MacCallum" about the Iran nuclear deal, Grenell, a seasoned foreign policy expert, said Iran is a "state-sponsor of terrorism, they spend billions of dollars to spread terrorism around the world. Why would a country want to do business with them? So I think it is going to be incumbent on me to explain to German businesses that they do not want to do business inside of Iran. It is just not right."

Grenell said that "there is room for German companies to stop doing business inside of Iran. We can't have that. You look at what Iran does. Their human rights records."

The European Union extended its human rights sanctions on Iran last month but declined to impose new penalties on the regime for widespread repression of civil liberties, according to human rights groups.

Grenell slammed Iran for destabilizing Syria. Iran is the main financial sponsor of  Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Grenell, who was sworn in as ambassador to Germany on Thursday, is sharp critic of Iran's nuclear program and a strong supporter of the Jewish state.

Vice President Mike Pence ,who officiated the swearing in ceremony, said that when Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington last week, "President Trump called you an 'outstanding man,' who will do a great job as our Ambassador to Germany. And everyone gathered here, and people across this country, share that confidence and conviction."

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He added that "it's absolutely clear that your career as a policy and communications advisor in the private sector and at every level of government makes you uniquely qualified to represent our nation in Berlin and on the world stage."

Pence said that "from 2000 to 2008, you were the longest serving spokesman for America’s Ambassador to the United Nations and you did a great job for all those years. Ric actually served under four different ambassadors, including President Trump’s National Security Advisor, John Bolton, during his stint at the UN"

"Across them all, you earned your colleagues’ respect and admiration for your ability to promote America’s interests on the world stage, while building international cooperation around our shared goals of security and prosperity," noted Pence.

Trump said of German-US relations during Chancellor Merkel's late April visit: “For decades, the alliance and friendship between Germany and the United States has advanced the cause of peace, prosperity, and freedom.” Pence added that "And we know that will even grow stronger with you [Grenell] as the American Ambassador to Germany."

In a Fox News opinion article titled "A landmark moment in Gay history," Gregory T. Angelo , the Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republican group in the US, wrote "His confirmation marks a major milestone: Grenell has now become the highest ranking openly gay official in any Republican administration in American history."

German-Iran trade has steadily increased since the Iran nuclear deal was settled in 2015. German exports to Iran rose to 3.5 billion euros in 2017 from 2.6 billion euros in 2016.According to German economic experts, bilateral German-Iran trade could soar to 10 billion euros within a short period of time.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that "Iran's exports of mainly fuel and other energy products to the EU in 2016 jumped 344 percent to 5.5 billion euros ($6.58 billion) compared to the previous year, while investment in Iran jumped to more than 20
billion euros."

The Jerusalem Post learned in March from two sources familiar with talks with German, British and French diplomats that the Merkel administration is the "least cooperative" of the three major European powers (France, UK, Germany) in offering concession to fix the defects of the Iran nuclear deal.

Germany’s government has refused to agree to a key US demand to classify the entire Lebanese Islamic militia Hezbollah a terrorist organization as part of talks to stop Iranian-sponsored jingoism in the region.

The Federal Republic currently has only outlawed Hezbollah's so-called military wing. Germany permits 950 Hezbollah members to operate on its soil. Hezbollah operatives raise funds and recruit new members. The US sanctioned Hezbollah's entire organization a terrorist entity. Hezbollah is widely viewed as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran.

Last week, the Germany's president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a zealous advocate of the Iran nuclear deal, came under fire for hosting Iranian regime-affiliated clerics who spread antisemitism and homophobia. A British cable contained in Wikileaks said Iran's regime has executed 4,000 to 6,000 gays and lesbians since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979.

Germany was engulfed in a trade scandal with Iran in February. Construction parts from the German company Krempel were found in Iranian chemical rockets in an attack on Syrians. The poison gas attacks injured 24 people. Germany's Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Bafa) defended the sales to Iran because the material was not classified as dual-use merchandise that can be applied for military purposes. Bafa did not restrict further Krempel sales to Iran.

Michael Tockuss, managing board member the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, said prior to the 2015 Iran deal: "Some two-thirds of Iranian industry relies on German engineering products."

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