Along the same lines, a study by the respected German Council on Foreign Relations from October 2011 called on the German government to strive to ensure, “that the USA and its allies do not further step up the pressure [on Iran], but instead reduce it.“ (Simon Koschut, Engagement ohne Illusionen, DGAP-Analyse 3, October 2011).
The gulf between these opinions and the French and British position is huge.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to disagree with such views from within the German foreign policy establishment. However, there is little sign of her exerting her influence on German policy in this area.
In this context, the issue of what the German and European foreign ministers intend to do at the next meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers on the 1st of December ought to be a hot topic in the continent’s parliaments and media. The Iranian regime is dependent on Germany and Europe and not vice versa.
In 2010 almost a quarter of Iranian imports came from the EU, while a mere 1% of EU imports came from Iran. The most important EU exporter to Iran is Germany, which in first eight months of this year delivered high-tech goods to Iran worth €2.055bn ($2.75bn). If the German government were to back the British boycott, this step alone might increase the pressure on Iran enough to force it to call a halt to its nuclear program.
However, should the meeting on the 1st of December meeting again fail to take strong action, thus demonstrating that the West is unable to summon up the will to organize a serious sanctions offensive despite the alarm sounded by the IAEA, then that day will be a day of rejoicing for the Iranian regime and a dark one for the Iranian people and the rest of the world.
About the Author: Küntzel is an external research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Board of Directors of the German chapter of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Matthias holds a tenured part-time position as a teacher of political science at a technical college in Hamburg, Germany.
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