There is an eye-popping story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal Europe. Italian companies – with Rome’s backing – have equipped Iran’s military, including the Revolutionary Guards, and contributed to the regime’s satellite and possibly nuclear programs.
As the author Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, writes: “When it comes to appeasing the Islamic Republic, no other Western nation has stooped lower than Italy.”
So much for the Italian government’s claim to be a strong supporter of the United States and of Israel, a country which the Iranian regime has threatened to destroy.
Despite international sanctions against Iran, Italian exports to the Islamic regime rose 17 percent in 2008 to 2.17 billion euros, according to the Italian statistical office. For the past three years, Italy has been Iran’s No. 1 European trading partner.
According to the Journal’s article, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini also says that the West should “avoid those [sanctions against Iran] that are connected with Iranian national pride.”
The responses by some of the over 1,000 Italian companies that do business with Ahmadinejad’s Iran are just incredible, and the website of the Italian-Iranian Chamber of Commerce states: “Iran and Italy were rivals and two great powerhouses in ancient times, but in the contemporary world they are great partners.”
Next month, Silvio Berlusconi, who claims to be a great friend of the Jewish state, will speak in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. I wonder what he will have to say about economic sanctions against Iran?