Why Germany Turns a Blind Eye to Iranian Violations of the Nuclear Deal

July 14 2017

Last week, the news broke that German police had found evidence of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to buy nuclear and missile technology forbidden by the 2015 agreement. Charges were filed against three German citizens for violating export laws by selling 51 special valves, meant to be used in a nuclear reactor, to an Iranian company. Nonetheless, Berlin, a party to the nuclear deal, will not take any action against Tehran, for reasons Michael Rubin explains:

[W]henever reports of cheating threaten to derail non-proliferation agreements, governments invested in those agreements are willing to bury the evidence to make a quick buck. Often, the [U.S.] State Department is [also] willing to look the other way in order to keep the process alive. That was the case with Iraq in the 1980s, North Korea in the 1990s, and Iran in the first half of the last decade. . . .

German diplomats have [in the past] not only been willing to excuse Iranian terrorism, but also nuclear cheating. [In] 2003, . . . despite finding that Iran had been developing a uranium centrifuge-enrichment program for eighteen years, and a laser-enrichment program for twelve years, the German foreign minister Joschka Fischer corralled European Union authorities into giving the Islamic Republic another chance.

German leaders might preach human rights and the virtues of multilateralism, but when it comes to the Islamic Republic, the German government’s desire to promote business always trumps holding Iran to account. Yes, Iran likely seeks to renew and advance its nuclear-weapons program. Iranian leaders correctly calculate that even if they paraded a nuclear missile through the streets of Tehran or tested a warhead in their southeastern desert, German authorities would embrace any excuse, however implausible, to look the other way, deny reality, and run interference—all in order to keep trade channels open.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Germany, Iran nuclear program, Nuclear proliferation, Politics & Current Affairs

 

The EU Must Stop Tolerating Hizballah

July 21 2017

Tuesday was the fifth anniversary of the bombing in the Bulgarian city of Burgas, which left five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian dead. After the bombing, the EU designated the “military wing” of Hizballah, which carried out the attack, a terrorist organization. But unlike the U.S., Egypt, and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the EU doesn’t apply this designation to the Hizballah’s “political wing.” Toby Dershowitz and Benjamin Weinthal write:

[T]he EU needs to . . . recognize, as Hizballah [itself] does, that the organization isn’t bifurcated into political and military “wings.” . . . Hizballah’s terror-financing activities and its critical role in the Syrian war should be enough for the EU to deport Hizballah members from its 28 member countries. Anything short of full designation would enable Hizballah to continue fundraising and operating its front companies. Last year, for instance, . . . German authorities uncovered a money-laundering operation in Europe that amassed nearly €1 million ($1.1 million) a week for more than two years, money that Europol and the U.S. Treasury Department says went to fund Hizballah.

Membership recruitment in Europe is also a significant tool for Hizballah. According to a recent German intelligence report, there are 950 active Hizballah members in Germany. This calls into question the effectiveness of the EU’s 2013 sanctions, which were imposed only on Hizballah’s “military wing.” . . .

Should Europe maintain the status quo . . . it does so at its own peril. European security will continue to be put at risk. And Hizballah will be given the signal that Europe is far from serious about countering terrorism.

Read more at FDD

More about: Bulgaria, European Union, Hizballah, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism