Ahmadinejad’s European Pals
In Thursday’s European edition of the Wall Street Journal, FDD’s Mark Dubowitz and Benjamin Weinthal expose the Swiss and German companies continuing to assist Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. Mark and Ben argue that the European Union must now
put pressure on the Swiss to make sure the country complies with the letter and spirit of international sanctions. The U.S. should also replace Switzerland as the representative of its diplomatic interests in Iran with a country that doesn’t interpret “neutrality” as a license to let companies potentially help Iran develop-directly or indirectly-its nuclear-weapons program.
Germany also remains a problem. Europe’s biggest exporter to the Islamic Republic provides roughly 60% of the technology Iran uses in its natural gas sector. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) has long lobbied against the sort of sanctions that now prohibit European companies from investing in Iran’s energy projects and providing technology or technical assistance. VDMA’s members are the engine behind Germany’s 14% increase in exports to Iran during the first six months of 2010 as compared to same period last year. In the Sept. 13 issue of the Handelsblatt, VDMA spokesman Klaus Friedrich referred to the European Commission’s plan for mandatory approval of all payments to and from Iran as a “useless monster bureaucracy.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel has still not shut down the Hamburg-based European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH), which the U.S. Treasury Department has designated as a proliferator for what it says is the bank’s role in abetting Iran’s nuclear activities and earlier this month barred from accessing the American market. …
Mrs. Merkel must take action against both the EIH and those members of the VDMA who continue their business with Iran. The Chancellor should be held to the promises she made, including to the U.S Congress and Israeli Knesset, to stop Iran’s nuclear drive. The same goes for the rest of Europe.
The full op-ed is here.