“Berlin divided over Iran policy, may pursue tougher line”

“Berlin divided over Iran policy, may pursue tougher line”
June 26-29, 2009
     Ralf Beste writes that German policymakers are divided over criticizing Tehran’s suppression of protestors due to the risks of undermining planned nuclear negotiations. While Foreign Ministry officials, particularly members of the Social Democratic Party, hope to move forward with negotiations, Chancellor Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union have become strongly critical of Tehran. With some members of the CDU openly supporting an overthrow of the Iranian regime, Beste suggests Berlin’s approach to Tehran may shift toward more sanctions and isolation (Der Spiegel).
     Benjamin Weinthal argues that Germany, Iran’s “most important” Western trading partner, has failed to enforce existing sanctions against Iran, noting that annual trade increased to over 4 billion Euros (around US$5.5 billion) in 2008. According to Weinthal, German engineering products support around 2/3 of Iranian industry, and in 2008, 39 contracts for dual-use items were approved. Weinthal also urges Berlin to improve border control and suggests that the protests in Iran may provide an opportunity for strengthening joint US-German efforts against Iran’s nuclear program (Washington Institute for Near East Policy).
Der Spigel | Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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