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Germany's Biggest Bank to Cut Business Ties to Iran

This is good news from DW World:
US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey had recently paid a visit in person to German banks and other companies to persuade them to stop doing business with Tehran and was successful in making his case to Deutsche Bank. (...)
According to Der Spiegel, the Iranian government has channeled some of its foreign currency earnings to German banks. The total held by German financial institutions topped 6.55 billion euros ($8.9 billion dollars).(...)
The Securities and Exchange Commission list stated that Siemens has business dealings with all five named "sponsors of terrorism" while BASF is linked solely with Iran. Deutsche Bank has connections with both Iran and Sudan.
Yes, a lot more needs to be done, especially regarding Siemens. See these posts in the Atlantic Review:
Sudan Divestment Campaign Against Siemens and Others Gets Stronger
Genocide: U.S. calls for more sanctions against Sudan, but Germany sees business opportunities

Besides, the German government should not just reduce, but end the Hermes export gurantees for business with Iran. See the Atlantic Review post: WSJ: "How the EU subsidizes trade with Iran"

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Zyme on :

You may consider this a good development. Less submissive germans can be glad about the fact that our government does not bow before Washington. Long termn relations developed over the course of more than a century are not to be sacrificed due to demands of a turbulent power like the United States.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

With all due respect, your opinion is not mainstream in Germany. Most Germans do not want Iran to go nuclear. Americans and Germans have a similar threat perception of Iran: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/586-Threat-Perceptions.html[/url]

Zyme on :

With all due respect - This is not about nuclear arming but about a clear violation of bilateral respect. In case the german government considers more intrusive action appropriate it will come to this conclusion WITHOUT Washingtons demands. In case Washington has better arguments it will sure be able to convince Berlin. Simply increasing the pressure level is an evidence of incapacity.

pen Name on :

All: The power to undo nuclear Iran does not exist in the international arena. Pundits, commentators, etc. are all in state of denial regarding what is achievable in case of the Iranian nuclear progress. What Germans want cannot be achieved. However, Germany is within her rights no to have dealings with Iran. So is the rest of EU. This will hurt Iran in the short term but she will cope. Germany, just like US, is sanctioning herself out of influence with Iran. All the best in Afghanistan.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

"This will hurt Iran in the short term but she will cope." Iranians have to decide what is better: (A) Nukes, but international isolation. Or (B) Normal relations with the US, huge investments from the US and Europe, leading to a reduction in unemployment and more prosperity for all Iranians. What do you prefer? Remember this song by native Americans, which Greenpeace uses for its campaigns? "Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money." That's similar to the obsession by the Tehran regime with nukes.

pen Name on :

Iran has already made her decision and it is well-known. You (EU & US) cannot isolate us, it is just too costly in terms of political, economic, and diplomatic expenditures for you to do so. Moreover, other states, such as NAM states, do not share your agenda. We are not obsessed by nukes. You are sleeping under the security blanket that men such as Rumsfeld have provided for you and you persume to advise us what is in our best interests. In the past 100 years, we were invaded 3 times, last time by Iraq supported by EU & US. Chemical weapons were used with impunity against us. We do not care about prosperity (yet another color television in the bedroom); we need to deter our enemies and defend ourselves. Our best interests is precisely what Mr. Khamenei, Larijani, Ahmadinejad and others are pursuing. But do not let all this stop you; go ahead and sanction us some more - we are not afraid of sanctions - our people will be even more awakened to your schemes.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

[i]> You (EU & US) cannot isolate us, it is just too costly in > terms of political, economic, and diplomatic expenditures for > you to do so.[/i] No, it is not. Take Deutsche Bank's decision as an indicator of things to come in the future. Trade with Iran is very small compared to trade with the US, Israel, the Arab states, which don't want a nuclear Iran either. [i]> We are not obsessed by nukes.[/i] Your regime is. I know that the Iranian people are not obsessed by nukes. They prefer jobs and freedom to speak their mind and to wear what they want. [i]> You are sleeping under the security blanket that men such as > Rumsfeld have provided for you and you persume to advise us > what is in our best interests.[/i] No, Rumsfeld and co have made Germany less secure because of the Iraq war. It is increasingly dangerous to be US allies. [i]> We do not care about prosperity.[/i] In which city do you live?

Zyme on :

"It is increasingly dangerous to be US allies." What an enlightenment - maybe we should stop giving in to their pressure? Well in fact we already did. Which is one of the biggest achievements of Schröder´s government.

pen Name on :

Last I looked, EU was protected by the US nuclear forces. Last I looked, UK was devising a new generation of submarine-based nuclear weapons. Last I looked, France was maintaining her nuclear forces. Freedom & Prosperity are all fine but not at the cost of Security. Prosperity wil bring more material things. Lack of security brings the possibility of death - or at least dislocation - at the hands of our enemies. As I wrote before, hundreds of thousands of us had to flee Tehran during the War of Sacred Defense. Never again. I am aware of the fact that the EU trade with Iran is small and getting smaller. While I welcome trade, I am also cognizant that it could be used for political aims. Which you are doing. I do not have any problem with that - I welcome the diminshment of your political influence in Iran; it has been largely malignant. When you used the word "isolation" I assumed you meant political, diplomatic, economical, and cultural isolation and not just economical. I think if that is no possible - other states will not follow you. Any way, why do't you guys break diplomatic relations with us, pack your ambassadors and go home? And expel our diplomats. You can live without us and we can live without you. About Freedom & Prosperity - the kind of Freedoms that you have in the EU is not possible in Iran in the short (~ 1 year), medium (~ 5 years) and long (~10 years). In fact, it is not possible in any Muslim state due to the nature of EU and the nature of Islam. Just look at Turkey. Jakob Burkhardt, whose name you might have heard, once observed that the ingredients of all human societies are very similar; different societies emphsize different aspects of this admixture at different times. You are in phase in which the emphsis is on commercial success and that is how you are looking at the world. We are in pahse that emphasis Faith. Prosperity that can be destroyed at the whims of those Jacobin fantasists that gave us the Iran-Iraq War, the Kosovo War, and the US War of Agression Against Iraq is doped loli-pop.

Zyme on :

Please do not mix up Germany with the Americans. While the USA wants to isolate Iran by putting it onto the list of the "axis of evil", Germany never took part in that image campaign. And keep in mind that not everyone is thinking like Joerg here in Europe. The companies that enjoyed a fruitful buisness in Iran for decades wish to prolong that cooperation. It has been and will be for the benefit of both partners. Europe´s governments know this - which is why they don´t have such an aggressive stance like the american government. Those german companies who reduced their buisness in Iran had to do this due to the fact that their shares are listed among others at the New York Stock Exchange - and since the transatlantic trade volume is too big, some have to give in to american political blackmail then. I don´t think we should allow the americans to put an end to a partnership they didn´t even take part in. What would you say?

pen Name on :

I am not against partnership but as the EU-Iran trade volume decreases the role that EU can play in Iran will decrease and so will her political influence. Contrary to most Iranian leaders, I never believed that EU has the capacity to chart an independent position than that of US; the volume of the Trans-Atlantic Trade alone is indicative of the importance of US-EU ties. To wit; I think it is better for EU (and Germany) to support US to the hilt - since you cannot be neutral and you do not have the capacity to chart and sustian aqn independent policy from that of US. I mean it from the point of view of the "interest of the state". In specific case of Iran, you made promises and raised hopes that you could not deliver upon. Thus you lost Iran and did not succeed in influencing US policy. And now Iran and US are in consultations over Iraq - by-passing you. Who needs EU if you can deal with the Great Satan himself?

Zyme on :

;) "The Great Satan" is an independent country and can chose to boycot whatever country it wants to. The fact that european countries have not jumped onto that bandwagon should tell you that a different policy is not only possible but also pursued. And you cannot primarily look at the EU when analysing the policy of european countries. Just take a look at the Iraq war - while some european countries supported the war, Germany and France did not. The times of the US ordering us around are over. By initiating a diplomatic offense we have also shown respect for your position instead of simply blaming your country for everything negative in the Orient. If these negotiations did not succeed it is not solely us to blame. The only point where the EU and the USA have a common position towards your country is that we don´t want a nuclear infrastructure capable of manufacturing nuclear weaponry. Technically speaking why do you need such an infrastructure at all if not for weaponry? With your rich ressources at hand, you could easily fulfill growing energy demands by constructing gas and oil power plants, right?

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Finally you admit: "The only point where the EU and the USA have a common position towards your country is that we don´t want a nuclear infrastructure capable of manufacturing nuclear weaponry." What does "want" mean? Usually you got to do something to get what you "want." In the case of Iran, this means to both provide incentives to Iran and to also indicate to Tehran that the alternative is bad, i.e. a carrot and sticks approach: The sticks are that Deutsche Bank ends trade with Iran. A sign of more isolation to come in the future. Germany should talk more about the negative consequences for Iran, if they don't cooperate. The US should should talk more about the positive consequences for Iran, if they cooperate, for instance huge investments from the US, normal relations, etc. Then we can achieve our goals.

Zyme on :

"What does "want" mean? Usually you got to do something to get what you "want."" Oh no, it is more like when you are watching the weather forecast and you think "I don´t want any rain". And in case rain actually is forecasted, well then you will get yourself a suitable umbrella. But if you think that banks that stop doing buisness with the average bank account client in Iran will keep anybody from enriching uranium - well then you might as well stop donating to Jupiter, which will reduce rain as effectively.

pen Name on :

Zyme & Joreg: Our plans for nuclear power pre-dates the Islamic Revolution. Our insistence on having independent nuclear infrastructure is caused by the past, current, and future sanctions on us since we aim to safe-guard our independence. Case in point: Russia has refused to supply us with nuclear fuel. We have absorbed that lesson. We are acting accordingly. As for you having the capacity to have independent policy; what you wrote was verbal - no concrete. Coniser the case of teh Air-Bus Planes that Khatami was planning on purchasing and you could not deliver; ostensibly because the engine fell under US sanctions. Outside of the Iranian context: you in Europe are powerless to do active things without US - Bosnia and Kosovo are prime examples of cases in which you could not accomplish your aims (however misguided) without US. In case of Iraq, no amount of opposition by you could prevent US from the war in 2003. So, in my opinion, you are powerless to oppose US projects and powerless to contravene her exegies and powerless to do anything without her. I think this point is well understood by all international observers, including Iran. What I said earlier still stands: support US and may be she will throw a bone at you;; UK has understood this fact.

Pat Patterson on :

Actually the comparison to the mostly secular Turkey is informative. But the only similarities between the two countries is population and birth rate. In every other category Turkey is either slightly or greatly ahead. Life expectancy is greater in Turkey, total GDP and GDP per capita. And the Turkish economy is growing at 9.8% a year while Iran's is at 4.3%. The poverty rate in Turkey is half that of Iran and Iranians also live on average 3 years less than the Turks. Maybe the Iranians wouldn't need ICBMs and IRBMs if they could simply "fix the potholes."

pen Name on :

Turkey is not secular - it is anti-Islam. And precisely for this fact iran and Turkey are very similar politically; one is for Faith and the other is against Faith. In one you get into trouble if you are not sufficiently Islamic and in the other one you get into trouble if you are too Islamic. Either way, the State and Polity are defined by their relationship to the ideals and realities of the Islamic Tradition. As for ICBM and IRBM: Iran does not plan to build them nor she has teh capacity. As for fixing the pot-holes etc. comment the same can be said of Blair and UK: What is UK doing in Iraq? Against which state UK has built and maintained her nuclear forces? Russia - which can annihilate UK with 2 hyrdogen bombs? Ultimately, this pothole comment reminds me of Plato's Republic - a utopia in which master like being masters and slaves learn to like being slaves. Specificially about UK - persoannly I think Iran should break diplomatic relations with UK. UK is an enemy of Iran.

Don S on :

And the recent landslide re-election of a moderate *Islamic* government in Turkey indicates that Turkey is really anti-Islam?!!!! How's that again? I didn't get it.

Pat Patterson on :

No, in the type of republic the US has the question to the politicians is "Can you fix the potholes?" Which has nothiang to do with Plato's ideal of a shared commonwealth and shared property. No philosopher kings here but merely men and women that are all to human. Iran can certainly buy IRBMs or ICBMs, the Shahab-3 and -4 can deliver a nuclear warhead up to 1,000 miles and Iran can boost the range of the Taep'o dong-2 via technology transfers from North Korea and Pakistan. The point would be at what expense to the Iranian populace are these weapons being bought. Even a religious state has responsibilities to the temporal needs of its citizens. Like most small countries Iran has confused the mere possesion of weapons as a sign of strength, even though the rest of the country is backward. Rather than developing its economy which would allow the government to engage in its great power fantasies.

pen Name on :

State's first duty is the safe-guarding of her citizens to the best of her capability. Iranian economy has been growing at about 5% a year. We rather be poorer but sfae than wealtheir but subject to foreign threats. There is no other way for us and you have not suggested anything except surrender and relying on your good will as a master to treat us, the servant, well.

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