During the past week as the world's attention finally focused in earnest on exposing the Iranian attempts to hide the development of their nuclear arsenal, President Obama and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy could think of nothing better than to express their dislike of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Rather than accusing of Netanyahu of being a liar, they would have been wise to single out and expose Germany and major German industrial companies for being dishonest and lying to the international community by actively bypassing international sanctions and assisting Iran in her pursuit of nuclear technology.
German Chancellor Merkel who has until recently ignored Germany's role in assisting Iran who has been purchasing German technology at a rate of billions of Euros per year so as to advance her nuclear development. Chancellor Merkel preferred to castigate Israel and her leader Netanyahu over the past few weeks, issuing stinging criticism over Israel's policies towards the Arabs, particularly regarding construction in communities in Judea and Samaria. A few weeks ago, Chancellor Merkel reprimanded Netanyahu over plans to build housing in Jerusalem neighborhoods located beyond the "Green Line", and to top it off speculation has been rife that Chancellor Merkel is "reconsidering" the sale of a sixth Dolphin-class submarine to Israel. Chancellor Merkel known for her silent support of Germany’s oft-invoked “justification of being afraid of Chinese rivals" as a justification to condone Germany's quiet business deals with dictators, murderers, human-rights abusers and oppressors not only in Iran but in other regions of the world.
So as the international community begins the process of imposing tough sanctions on Iran, this might be the right time to review Germany's active involvement in helping Iranian technological advances in pursuit of nuclear technology. Only last week, a pro-Iranian business conference in Berlin triggered sharp criticism from European-based NGOs and Mideast experts because the event promoted trade with the Islamic Republic. The conference entitled “Economic Congress: Iranian Business Women Power” shows how Germany continues to violate the very sanctions enacted against Iran by the European Union of which Germany is a charter member, the United States and the United Nations. What's extremely worrying about Germany's behavior is that it's not an isolated incident but rather shows a trend of German behavior over the years of by-passing international sanctions against Iran. Chancellor Merkel to the disappointment of many who have been combating Iran's nuclear ambitions stated that UN sanctions had not been fully exhausted as a means of pressuring Iran, and Germany would consider a another round of measures. "I think the methods we can use to force Iran to be more transparent have not been fully exhausted. Sanctions are first in line here" Merkel said. Meaning that Germany is in no hurry to join the efforts of other Western nations and get tuff with Iran.
This notion of Germany standing out pursing her own interests is reminiscent of Germany's darkest period. So as Germany marked last week the 'day of shame' the 73rd anniversary of Nazi pogrom that paved way for the Holocaust to follow, The Kristallnacht pogrom, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, saw Nazi thugs plunder Jewish businesses throughout Germany, torch about 300 synagogues and round up some 30,000 Jewish men for deportation to concentration camps. It seems odd that during this week, we have been inundated with information concerning German companies that have until very recently been clandestinely maintaining economic and industrial cooperation with Iran, enabling Iran to produce the very components that can be used to produce a nuclear bomb. Let's not forget that at every opportunity, the political and religious leaders of Iran have stated publicly that Israel has no right to exist and must be wiped off the face of the world.
So what about German-Iranian Economic Ties? Iran’s technical sector—including the controversial nuclear program—depends heavily upon German products and services. For example, Tehran originally contracted Kraftwerk Union (a subsidiary of Siemens) to build the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and the company finished 75-85% of the first reactor and 45-70% of the second reactor before the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Despite a German export control ban on military and dual-use equipment to Iran, Tehran has attempted to acquire critical German technologies and nuclear know-how through Russia, the black-market, and espionage on German soil. The most startling case occurred in 2006, when German authorities raided 41 small- to medium-sized domestic firms under suspicion of supplying Iran with 3 million Euros worth of dual-use technologies—pumps, electronic components, transformers, and steel cables—through direct trade or by way of Russia.
Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, BASF, BAYER, Herrenknecht, MAN Ferrostaal are a few of the many major German corporations strengthening Iran. Trade between Germany and Iran totaled almost four billion euros in 2008, a 10.5 percent increase over the previous year, and Germany appears to be on track in maintaining her role as the leading EU trade partner with Iran. All together more than five thousand German firms have been actively doing business with Iran. But more important than the overall numbers is the key role Germany plays in sustaining Iran's infrastructure. According to the former president of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tehran, "Some two-thirds of Iranian industry relies on German engineering products."
Chancellor Merkel's ethical appeal to German companies to avoid business deals with Iran has flopped. The German government must remain more diligent than ever in enforcing existing sanctions against Iran, despite Germany remaining Iran's most important trading partner in the West. Any policy short of this will make Germany eternally responsible for the danger to world peace by Iran.