Hegemonic Conflict at the Gulf


TEHERAN/BERLIN (Own report) - New reprisals against Iran will be among the main topics to be discussed with the Israeli president, during his visit, which begins today. The German chancellor has announced her willingness to apply stiffer economic sanctions, even without a UN mandate. The EU and the USA have made similar declarations. With a fear of losing out in the long-run to the People's Republic of China, German export enterprises are still putting up resistance. The question of how to handle Teheran's striving to become the major power at the Persian Gulf, in the aftermath of the extensive destruction of Iraq, is at the heart of the dispute among the Germans. One alternative, supported for example by the state-financed Deutsche Welle radio station, is the replacement of the current government by forces imputed to be more acquiescent to Western demands. Germany is also involved in the US war preparations, aimed at applying pressure on Iran. This provides Berlin several variations for compelling the recalcitrant military regime in Teheran to comply with German hegemonic plans for this resource-rich region bordering on the Persian Gulf.

Consensus among the Elite

It is Teheran's strategic plan to become the most prominent power in the Persian Gulf region, now that the USA has extensively destroyed its traditional rival, Iraq that has led to the dispute concerning new reprisals against Iran. From Iran's standpoint, according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the size and population of the country, its wealth in raw materials and its strategic geographical location gives it "a quasi natural preeminence" in the region.[1] This is "common knowledge among Iranians (...) even the secular nationalist opposition in exile." The SWP writes that in 2005, during the reign of the pro-Western President Mohammad Khatami, Teheran adopted a strategic "20-Year Vision for the Islamic Republic," which is considered to be "a consensus among the elite" - far beyond the current military regime. The key sentence in that document reads: "in twenty years, Iran will be a developed country, an economic, academic and technological regional forerunner, which will inspire the Islamic world with its Islamic and revolutionary identity and maintain constructive and effective international relations."

Sanctions Policy

From the viewpoint of key circles in the United States and Berlin's transatlantic milieu, the regional hegemony of a power that is hardly controllable by the West in this resource-rich Persian Gulf region has to be prohibited at all costs. The German government is therefore systematically strengthening its relations with the dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsula, which are in competition with Iran for regional predominance. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) During his trip to the Persian Gulf a few days ago, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sought, to establish an anti-Teheran pact with the Arabian states.[3] In addition, Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering stiffer economic sanctions against Teheran - if necessary, even without the legitimation of the United Nations. The United States and influential voices in the EU have made similar announcements.

Economic Influence

But particularly German energy and export companies are putting up resistance. They are pointing out not only that Iran cannot be replaced as a source of gas supply for the Nabucco Pipeline [4] but that the country is also a market of growing significance. Many companies are warning that the sanctions policy would merely strengthen their rival China. In December, Teheran excluded the Total Oil Company from the development of an important natural gas project. The contract will now go to a company in China.[5] Recently, transatlantic circles forced the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG to cancel a contract for the development of one of Iran's most important harbors. This contract could also go to a Chinese enterprise. Though Western - including US - companies are seeking business with Iran over third countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and China, they contend that the sanctions policy is highly risky, because the decrease in economic influence in Iran will also diminish the possibility of exercising control over Teheran. Western hegemony at the Persian Gulf would therefore be endangered in the long run.


The support of oppositional protests in Iran has now become one of Berlin's options. The growing concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the military and militia in Teheran is arousing anger against the regime not only within democratic milieus but also among traditional Iranian religious leaders. The government of the Federal Republic of Germany, which on several occasions [6] had refused to help Iranian democratic forces in Iran, is now supporting the opposition movement, whose protagonists are considered to tend more toward being western oriented. This applies also to the former President, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. For years Berlin has preferred him to the current government because of his business interests in the West.[7] Rafsanjani is accused of being behind numerous assassination attempts and murders, including the bombing attack on a Jewish Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.[8] Through its reporting, the German state-financed Deutsche Welle [9] is aiding the opposition movement supported by democratic forces and partially by clerical circles in the entourage of Rafsanjani - with consequences. Recently the government in Teheran began using jamming equipment against Deutsche Welle broadcasts.[10]


The various attempts to compel the Teheran to submit to Western hegemonic plans are being rounded off with a war threat, in which Berlin is also a party. Over the next few days, Berlin may be synchronizing military considerations as well as non-military plans for a coup d'état with the corresponding concepts of Israel, whose president arrives today in Berlin. War preparations include arms supplies for the dictatorships of the Arabian Peninsular - with German support.[11] At the end of 2009, the semi-official US Military journal, "Joint Force Quarterly" published considerations concerning a "future Gulf war," in which "Arabian and American forces would be pitted against Iranian Capabilities."[12] Just a few months earlier, the German Air Force had participated in a military maneuver in the United Arab Emirates, corresponding to this sort of scenario.[13] for the first time beginning in March, a German warship will also be integrated, into a US Navy Carrier Strike Group. A Carrier Strike Group is a ship formation, grouped around a US aircraft carrier. Beginning in March, the frigate Hessen will therefore accompany the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier on its operations. The USS Harry S. Truman has extensive experience in the Persian Gulf, including from the attack on Iraq in 2003.

Please read also Terrorist Measures, Under Time Pressure, A Dirty Little Secret, Lever for Destabilization, Traditional Role, Containment Course, Equilibrium rather than Exclusion, The Persian Pipeline, Anticipating a Coup and Lever for Destabilization (III).

[1] Johannes Reissner: Irans Selbstverständnis als Regionalmacht. Machtstreben im Namen antikolonialer Modernität; SWP-Studie S 29, Oktober 2008
[2] see also Feudalinvestoren, Feudalinvestoren (II), Feudal Investors (III) and Die Qatar-Bahn
[3] see also Gulf Stability
[4] see also Nabucco, Southern Corridor and Master Plan
[5] Bahman Nirumand: Iran-Report der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Nr. 01/2010
[6] Known examples are the 1967 suppression of protests in West Berlin against the Shah regime and the visit of the West German Foreign Minister to Teheran in 1988 - at a time when the Iranian regime was executing thousands of political prisoners.
[7] see also Ähnlichkeiten
[8] Accusations of Rafsanjani include his implication the murder of Iranians in exile and for the 1994 bomb attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. In 2006, Argentina swore out an international warrant for the arrest of Rafsanjani and eight other Iranians, which soon thereafter was annulled by Interpol. Die letzte Hoffnung; Neue Zürcher Zeitung 28.06.2009
[9] see also Anticipating a Coup
[10] Teheran störte Deutsche Welle TV; Spiegel Online 02.01.2010
[11] see also Gulf State Military Partner
[12] Future Gulf War. Arab and American Forces against Iranian Capabilities; Joint Force Quarterly 55, 4th quarter 2009
[13] see also German Arab Maneuvers