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…

TEHERAN/HANOVER/MUNICH | | iran

TEHERAN/HANOVER/MUNICH (Own report) - Now that the sanctions are coming to a close, German enterprises are initiating major investments in Iran and multibillion-dollar gas deals with Teheran. Over the past few weeks, several business delegations have already visited Iran. The state of Bavaria will soon open a business representation in the Iranian capital. On the one hand, German business circles have their eye on the Middle East market, because Iran "is the ventricle of an economic zone comprising a cross-border population of 400 million people." With car sales in Iran, Volkswagen would like to compensate for the slump it is suffering on other major markets, particularly China and Brazil. On the other hand, Berlin and Brussels are trying to acquire access to Iranian natural gas. The EU Commission estimates that by 2030, Iran should be annually selling 25 to 35 billion cubic meters - probably liquid - gas to the EU. BASF natural gas subsidiary Wintershall has also shown interest. During his recent visit in Teheran, Lower Saxony's Minister of the Economy proposed the construction of a LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven as a German-Iranian joint venture. This is all happening at a time, when the conflict over Syria - with Iran and Russia on the one side and the West on the other - is escalating. more…

TEHRAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHRAN/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is rushing to renew economic ties with Iran and to engage in reshaping the Middle East by dispatching its minister of the economy to Tehran. The nuclear agreement, signed last Tuesday with Tehran, offers German companies the opportunity to normalize their trade with Iran, which was once among the most lucrative in the Middle East, but had sharply declined due to sanctions. Exports in the double-digit billions are expected. Meanwhile experts are calling for realigning power relations in the Persian Gulf under western leadership to establish a balance of power between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This would prevent the hegemony of either and offer the West favorable opportunities to influence developments in the region. Comprehensive German arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the weakening of Iranian positions, particularly in Syria, would form the basis of this desired balance of power. According to experts, the EU could play a leading role in reshaping the region, if resistance in the US Congress, at the last moment, does not block the nuclear deal. more…

TEHERAN/WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | iran

TEHERAN/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin is pushing for a rapid conclusion to the Iran nuclear program negotiations. The talks must absolutely be successfully concluded by the November 24 deadline, insist leading German foreign policy-makers along with the German Foreign Minister personally. This is ´"technically" feasible; it must be resolutely pursued politically. Further postponement would be counterproductive. Berlin has achieved a prominent position within the framework of the negotiations and is using this to play a more powerful role in global policy-making. A form of renewed cooperation with Iran, along the lines of "transformation through convergence" strategy, which had been used against the Soviet Union, is considered a probable result of these negotiations. Test runs for this sort of cooperation have long since been made - in the war against the Islamic State (IS), with US bombers serving as the air force of Iranian commanded militias. US President Barack Obama has suggested the possibility of an expansion of this sort of cooperation. more…

BERLIN/TEHERAN | | iran

BERLIN/TEHERAN (Own report) - German foreign policy makers are playing a prominent role in the rapprochement between the West and Iran. As Jürgen Todenhöfer (CDU), a former member of the Bundestag, explains, he conveyed Teheran's negotiating proposal for solving the nuclear dispute to Washington already in the spring of 2010. At the time, the Iranian government had proposed that the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, serve as mediator. Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and her German deputy, Helga Schmid, are playing key roles in the current talks on Iran's nuclear program. Prior to her EU position in Brussels, Schmid had made a career in the German Foreign Ministry as chief of staff for Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer. Iran's President Hassan Rohani, in return, is promoting Germany's prominent role in his country's EU policy. Berlin welcomes the new rapprochement between the West and Iran. German Middle East experts point out that, if this rapprochement should be successful, it would also lead to far-reaching geo-strategic shifts, initially affecting Syria. more…