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…

The Next Round

TEHERAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHERAN/BERLIN (Own report) - In the aftermath of Iran's presidential elections, German foreign policy specialists and government advisors are pushing for a new round in the power struggle with Teheran. Even before votes were cast, German specialists were calling for using the personnel change to launch a new round in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. The conditions are now considered unusually favorable. The winner of the elections, Hassan Rohani is "in favor of compromises in the nuclear dispute and a normalization of relations with the USA." Whereas some experts on Iran are pleading for using cooperation programs, "killing Teheran with kindness" - others are still in favor of pursuing confrontation approaches. For example, one of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's former advisors proposes that the more than 3,000 members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran, trapped in Iraq, be taken from that country. In the past, the West had considered them as a possible core for a subversive military insurgent movement in Iran. The EU should also address the Iranian people directly - for example, using internet PR campaigns or through the recently founded "European Endowment for Democracy," which has the task of strengthening subversive forces against undesirable regimes. more…

BERLIN | | iran

BERLIN (Own report) - German policy advisors are calling for closing western ranks in favor of possible military aggression against Iran. The attempts to "promote diplomatic solutions" in the so-called nuclear conflict with Teheran are "out of touch with reality," alleges an article in the latest issue of "Internationale Politik," the most influential magazine in the German foreign policy establishment. The "Iranian threat" stands beyond the logic of traditional policy. It is similar to "classical Greek tragedies," which "as a rule, end in a slaughter." Berlin should not refuse participating in the military campaign and must prepare the population for possible consequences, such as terror attacks on European targets or higher costs of gasoline. These demands are explicitly directed against a second tendency in Berlin's foreign policy, which sees Germany's interests better served by using cooperative means to gain influence (change through rapprochement). This viewpoint is primarily held by business circles interested in expanding, and do not appreciate having to forgo this business with Iran. As the circles promoting military engagement in the media are going on the offensive, tensions are rising at the Persian Gulf. more…

BERLIN/TEHERAN | | iran

BERLIN/TEHERAN (Own report) - With its call to "considerably strengthen" sanctions against Iran, Berlin is participating in the intensification of western pressure on Teheran. Next week, the EU foreign ministers want to impose new punitive measures against members of Iran's establishment to force the Iranian regime to accommodate western demands in the so-called nuclear dispute. This conflict is, in fact, over hegemony, with the West seeking to defend at all costs its predominance in the Middle Eastern resource-rich regions. Demands are becoming louder for military attacks next year, to crush an ambitious Iran. In Berlin, the debate is continuing around whether to take part in a possible war. Whereas transatlantic-oriented forces are calling for just that, other circles, oriented toward a more clear rivalry with the USA, are demanding a durable imposition of western hegemony in the Middle East using cold war methods ("transformation through rapprochement"). The current developments throughout the Middle East could give those favoring military measures the advantage - possibly decisively. more…

TEHERAN/WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | iran

TEHERAN/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government is not ruling out the prospect of applying harsher measures against Iran. According to the German foreign minister's declarations, Berlin is consulting with its western allies on the reactions to an ominous plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. The Iranian government is allegedly implicated in this plot. If the West would take harsher measures against Iran, Berlin would be directly implicated also locally. For years, Germany has been systematically supporting Iran's rivals, the pro-western Arabian Peninsular dictatorships. This support included arms supplies in the billions of Euros. These dictatorships would side with the West in a conflict. However, in Berlin, the escalation strategy against Teheran is controversial. Prominent experts still plead for a transformation from a confrontational to a cooperative policy toward the Iranian government, to open possibilities for expanding German companies and strengthening Germany's position - independently of the USA - in the resources rich Middle East. They can draw on the fact that numerous observers consider the current accusations against Iran hardly credible. more…

BERLIN/DUBAI/RIYADH | | iranvaeaegypten

BERLIN/DUBAI/RIYADH (Own report) - In spite of the ongoing protests in the Arab countries, German companies are continuing to furnish repressive technology to regimes of the region. At a fair in Dubai, oriented toward Middle Eastern and African police forces and secret services, several German companies have displayed their newest technology in internet surveillance. Products for localizing mobile telephones, as well as spying on computer hard disks were also being presented. German enterprises consider the export of so-called security technology to be a rather lucrative business. The German ministry of economics estimates the global security market to run at around 100 billion Euros per year - and rising. Since November 2010, the ministry has been supporting the German repression industry with a new "exports initiative in security technologies". Just last January, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics, Hans-Joachim Otto, visited the United Arab Emirates for talks on security plans. Some of the German export projects to Arab countries, including a proposal to deliver espionage software to the Egyptian domestic espionage service, have caused controversy. more…

MANAMA/DOHA/BERLIN | | iran

MANAMA/DOHA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German Defense Ministry is expanding its activities on the Arabian Peninsula. Berlin seeks to "enhance its presence" at the Persian Gulf, declared the German Defense Ministry's Parliamentary State Secretary, Christian Schmidt. A few days ago, Schmidt attended this years "Manama Dialogue", an international forum of prominent participants focusing on Middle East security issues. With its growing arms export and military cooperation, Germany has already achieved prominence with the Arabian Peninsula's dictatorships. German companies are intensifying their cooperation with the states and the sovereign wealth funds of the Arabian autocracies at the Gulf. The most recent example: The Qatar emirate bought a stake in Germany's largest construction company, Hochtief AG, complicating a takeover bid from its Spanish competitor, ACS. The cooperation with the dictatorships at the Persian Gulf is not only advantageous economically; it is also particularly aimed at weakening Iran. The overthrow of the government in Iraq opened the way for Iran to achieve preeminence in the world's most important resource region. more…