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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.

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

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

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More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations