Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Germany blocks effective sanctions of Iran

From the Jerusalem Post Oct. 15, 2008, by Benjamin Weinthal, correspondent in BERLIN:

German Ambassador to Iran Herbert Honsowitz violated EU guidelines by allowing a military attaché to attend an anti-Israel military parade in Teheran late last month, according to a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry's Iran section.

"Israel must be wiped off the map" was one of the slogans painted on Shihab-3 missiles featured at the event in Teheran, which commemorated the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War.

The presence of a German defense attaché at the military parade was a source of enormous embarrassment for the ministry in Berlin. In uncharacteristically strong language and disciplinary action, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier ordered Honsowitz to return to Berlin on September 29.

...A ministry spokeswoman, who wished to remain unnamed, told the Post that the European Union reached a consensus three years ago not to attend the annual military parade, adding that "well-know anti-Israeli and anti-American slogans" were displayed at the event.

..."Unacceptable and strange behavior" is how the spokeswoman described the attaché's presence at the parade...

...Honsowitz, who has served as ambassador in Teheran since 2006 and is considered "Iran-friendly," has now left Berlin to return to his post.

...In April, the Post reported on Honsowitz's presence at an Iranian oil show and the embassy's role in facilitating an expansion of German engineering firms' business with the Iranian regime. Honsowitz told Iranian Press TV last November that the "German Embassy is trying to take measures toward maintaining and improving economic ties between the private sectors of the two countries."

Israeli officials view Germany as severely undercutting France and Britain's effort to economically isolate Iran because of its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. According to German and Iranian-exile critics, Steinmeier has shown great leniency toward the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic policies of the Islamic Republic.

... Social Democratic Party head Steinmeier ...and his Social Democrats, a partner in the coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel, refuse to enact legislation banning trade with Iran.

Many Israeli government officials view an end to German-Iranian economic relations as the litmus test on combating Iranian anti-Semitism and ensuring Israel's security.

Nasrin Amirsedghi, an intellectual who fled the Islamic Republic and lives in Germany, told the Post "the main responsibility for the future lies in the hands of Europe, and particularly with the German government. Back then [in 1945] Germany and the Jews were finally liberated from Hitler's barbaric tyranny with the help of the Allies. Today, it is Germany's duty to take this threat [Iran] seriously and take action. Anyone who does not recognize this danger should not be surprised when Iranian atom bombs are flying everywhere."

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