BERLIN/TEHRAN | | iran

BERLIN/TEHRAN (Own report) - German military experts have presented their first concrete plans for an EU naval operation in the Persian Gulf. According to the draft of two well connected government advisors and a Bundeswehr professor, warships should be cruising at the two entrances to the Strait of Hormuz. Supplementary warships should escort oil tankers through the strait with armed troops on board to ward off possible attacks - depending on the disposition to escalate. This would necessitate "between 10 and 30 percent of the EU's naval capacities," and Berlin should be in command of the deployment to demonstrate its aspiration to shape global policy. Whereas sectors of the SPD and the opposition reject the operation, the chancellor and foreign ministry are promoting the plan also within the EU. Previously, Foreign Minster Heiko Maas had rejected the US demand for Germany to deploy warships in a US-led naval mission in the Middle East. Berlin is positioning itself to be an independent power in global politics. more…

TEHRAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHRAN/BERLIN (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) is threatening Tehran with international isolation. Maas met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran yesterday to discuss options for salvaging the nuclear deal. Zarif, whose country has been complying with the agreement, is demanding that the West do the same and halt the sanctions: "The only way to ease tensions and de-escalate is to end the economic war." Under the weight of US sanctions, the Iranian economy is indeed collapsing and the population is suffering from dramatically increased food prices and a noticeable lack of medicines. In its effort to salvage the nuclear deal, Berlin is mainly concerned with serving the German economy's expansionist interests and with its own profile as a global player vis-à-vis the United States. Maas conceded yesterday that the INSTEX financial vehicle Berlin helped to create could not provide an adequate substitute for the losses inflicted by the sanctions. Now, he is reverting to threats. more…

BERLIN/TEHERAN/WASHINGTON | | iran

BERLIN/TEHERAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The escalation of the conflict over Iran hampers the German government's efforts to pursue an independent global policy even contrary to US interests. Following US President Donald Trump's announcement, he would impose punitive measures on all countries planning to purchase Iranian oil, Teheran responded by declaring it may begin to enrich uranium again, if the partners of the nuclear agreement continue to breach their commitments and refuse to allow Iran to sell its goods freely. This is actually the case, due to US threats to impose punitive measures. Berlin's efforts to salvage trade with Iran by means of a barter-based financial vehicle does not bear fruit. Washington is now preparing new threats against this vehicle ("INSTEX"). Despite the de facto trade blockade in violation of the nuclear agreement, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is demanding that Teheran must “fully” comply with the nuclear agreement. In the meantime, US President Trump is increasing pressure with new sanctions. more…

BERLIN/TEHERAN | | iran

BERLIN/TEHERAN (Own report) - Berlin and Brussels have announced renewed efforts to try to salvage the nuclear agreement with Teheran after the escalation of the US initiated war of sanctions against Iran. Additional efforts will be undertaken to make the finance vehicle, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), established at the beginning of the year, operational, according to a declaration made public Saturday by the foreign ministers of the three most powerful EU nations, as well as the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security. Other nations, "also Russia and China," are invited to join the effort. Earlier, Washington had announced it would not extend the "special permits" it had issued for the importation of oil from Iran, and would take reprisals against companies that continue buying Iranian oil. Because US policy, aimed at the collapse of Iran's government is running counter to Berlin's plans for the Middle East, the German government is striving to undermine it and promote the implementation of its own concepts. Until now, INSTEX, however, has proven inoperable. more…

BERLIN/TEHRAN | | iranusa

BERLIN/TEHRAN (Own report) - New US sanctions against Iran have come into effect, without the slightest sign of success for the opposition to the US Middle East policy that had been so loudly proclaimed by Berlin and the EU. Berlin had affirmed, it would do everything in its power to secure for EU companies - particularly German - business deals with Iran, thereby safeguard the nuclear agreement while strengthening the standing of German/EU industry in Iran. The latter has completely failed. German business representatives are warning of the "danger" that German business with Iran "could come to a complete halt." If this development continues, China - which during the first round of sanctions, had already become Iran's main trading partner - could further enhance its position in Iran, particularly due to continued oil purchases from Tehran. Contrary to its announcement, the Trump administration did not succeed in entirely cutting off Iranian oil exports. Today, Iran is selling more oil than during the previous round of sanctions. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | iranusa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ended his first official visit to Washington yesterday, without reaching a compromise in the transatlantic dispute over policy on Iran. "We're pursuing two completely different paths," Maas declared following his talks with his counterpart Mike Pompeo and the National Security Advisor John Bolton. The EU remains unified in their policy approach, which is diametrically opposed to that of the Trump administration. Berlin's attempts to achieve an independent German-EU policy on Iran opposing Washington's is particularly applauded by Germany's strategists in the establishment's foreign policy sectors. Recommendations of submission to the Trump administration's threats to use force against Teheran, so as not to jeopardize German companies' highly profitable business relations with the US, are coming from business circles. Meanwhile, foreign policy experts recommend developing the euro into an alternative global reserve currency. This could reduce the USA's potential to apply pressure on Germany's economy. more…

BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON | | iranusa

BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Berlin is seeking to use Washington's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal to increase its pressure on Tehran. In their joint statement published Wednesday, the governments of Germany, France and the United Kingdom declared their continued commitment to the agreement, while demanding that the Iranian government limit its ballistic missile program and its efforts to obtain influence in the region. The reintroduction of US sanctions offers Berlin a chance to disguise its continued pressure on Tehran as a war preventive measure. At the same time, US sanctions against Iran continue to fuel the power struggle between the EU and the USA. The Airbus Company alone could lose €16 billion in commercial deals due to the sanctions imposed by the US government. Commentators recommend resistance: "You don't become a world power in a conference room." At the same time, Israel is exacerbating the escalating tensions with its aggressions against Syria. more…

BERLIN/BAGHDAD/TEHERAN | | irakiran

BERLIN/BAGHDAD/TEHERAN (Own report) - Today, Thursday, NATO’s defense ministers begin their preparations for the war alliance’s Iraq mission, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg announced in light of the ministers’ meeting ending today in Brussels. The mission is in accordance with US demands, which not only seek to empower Iraqi armed forces to permanently suppress IS, but particularly, to scale back Teheran’s significant influence on Baghdad. Iran owes its new influence in Iraq and other countries of the region - from Syria to Yemen and Qatar - to the failed and bloody wars and various aggressions by the West and its closest Middle East allies. Teheran could not have achieved its current influence in Baghdad, without the 2003 US invasion and subsequent extensive destruction of the country. Berlin signaled its interest to participate in the upcoming NATO mission to Iraq. more…

TEHERAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHERAN/BERLIN (Own report) - Moderate business success and lack of unity among the leading western powers are affecting Germany's current policy toward Iran. Last year, German companies were able to significantly expand their business with Iran; however, they did not achieve the ambitious level they had been hoping to reach. Despite the 25 percent increase in German exports to Iran, it seems unlikely that the aspired export volume of ten billion euros will be reached in the next few years. The strong market position of the People's Republic of China - which had not joined the western sanctions - is one of the reasons. Russia also has gained considerable influence and can not only hope for contracts in the oil and natural gas sectors, but also for the expansion of the broad gauge railway network up to the Persian Gulf. Whereas the United States does not want to abandon its military trump and prefers to persist in war threats, the German government is seeking to serve as mediator in the unrelenting hegemonic conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, no breakthrough is in sight. more…

TEHERAN/BERLIN/BRUSSELS | | iran

TEHERAN/BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - Germany's Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, will travel to Iran at the beginning of next week to initiate new business deals in a highly competitive market of the future. German authorities are doing all they can to insure that once sanctions are ended, Teheran will allot contracts to German companies. Besides Gabriel, for whom this will be his second trip to the Iranian capital in the past nine months, premiers or ministers of a total of six German states have either flown to Iran for talks or are planning to do so in the near future. The competition is intense. Asian countries - from China, via South Korea all the way to India - are currently by far the most important suppliers of this country that is exceptionally rich in raw materials. According to business circles, time is running out. Although Germany has good chances, in light of the strong competition from Asia, it cannot hope to reconquer its previous 30-percent market share in Iran's mechanical engineering and plant construction. However, if business is not accelerated, they could fall far behind. The first steps have been taken. Siemens will build a high-speed railway line linking Teheran to Isfahan and modernize Iran's electrical power supply. more…