Posts Tagged 'Germany'

“EU states lack coherent strategy for nuclear talks, increased sanctions”

“EU states lack coherent strategy for nuclear talks, increased sanctions”
June 26-29, 2009
     Although the EU has criticized the Iranian government for its repression of protestors, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stated that the EU would “like very much” to restart multilateral talks on the nuclear issue (Associated Press). Timothy Heritage believes the EU and US will withhold any threats of sanctions until direct discussions and may avoid implementing any new strategies for the nuclear issue until Tehran achieves more domestic stability. Heritage adds that the EU’s limited options for sanctions, which could target Iran’s oil and gas sectors, face reluctance from European exporters and would not provide a strong starting point for engagement with Iran (Reuters).
     However, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated to reporters that G8 leaders would work toward adopting new sanctions at a summit next week (Reuters (2)). Bronwen Maddox suggests that efforts by Germany, Iran’s largest EU trading partner, to decrease economic ties with Iran may eventually allow Britain and France to implement harsher EU sanctions (The Australian). John Vinocur counters that French officials have refused to endorse sanctions, with Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stating that sanctions unfairly affect the poor, and that business interests in Germany are strongly opposing any decrease in trade with Iran (New York Times).
Associated Press | Reuters | Reuters (2) | The Australian | New York Times

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“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