Matthias Küntzel: With Business Savvy into Catastrophe

Germany and Iran: First comes trade, then morals
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Editor’s note:

The original of the following article by SPME Board Member Matthias Küntzel was published in German in the Tagesspiegel, one of the most important Newspapers in Berlin – Geschäftstüchtig in die Katastrophe

Matthias Küntzel spoke on March 8th in Vienna on a press-conference organized by REALITE-EU who offers a website and e-newsletter for journalists, leaders and key analysts that focus on developments in and around the Middle East which pose a threat to Europe and beyond.

A similar article was published on March 7th in the Austrian Newspaper “Der Standard ” focusing on the special situation in Austria.

Both articles mention Küntzel’s membership at the Board of Directors of SPME

With Business Savvy into Catastrophe


Teheran ignores the security council and enforces its nuclear program. Now
everything depends on Europe: Will one continue to cuddle up to the mullah
regime or take a stand? Only Europe could force Teheran to change course by
non-military means. While the USA don’t trade with Iran, China, Japan, and
Russia are expendable for Teheran. Europe isn’t: Most technologically
sophisticated imports originate from the European Union.

“Two thirds of the Iranian industry is equipped mostly with machines of German
origin”, reports the former president of the German-Iranian chamber of commerce,
Michael Tockuss.”The Iranians depend on German replacement parts and suppliers.”
A study of the Iranian parliament confirms: Without European replacement parts
and industrial products the Iranian economy would be paralysed within months.

Instead of using this last available leverage to force a change of course by
non-military means, Berlin in particular rejects an efficient regime of
sanctions outside the UN security council. American attempts to convince
Europeans banks and firms to abandon their Iran business are fought. Public
Hermes bonds for business ventures in Iran will still be granted in the future:
This practice won’t be abandoned “because of new political directives”, the
Federal Ministry of Economics proclaims defiantly. “Backing of Iran business is
still possible.”(Nachrichten fuer Aussenhandel, February 22nd 2007). Incessantly
the German government calls for participation in Iranian trade shows: April 2007
– “Iran Oil & Gas Show”; May 2007: “Iran Food & Bev Tec”; October 2007 –
“Internationale Industriemesse”; November 2007: “Iranplast – International Trade
Show for Synthethics and Rubber”. With business savvy into catastrophe: Does
Berlin really want that the fundamentalists of Teheran wage Holy War with atomic
weapons in the future?

Remarkable isn’t just the nonchalance with which the country of the holocaust
perpetrators stands by the country of the holocaust deniers. Also remarkable is
the behaviour of globalisation opponents and the factions of the left. Shouldn’t
the priority of human rights and the most elementary security interests over the
interests of big industry be their topic? Far from it: While the USA is
demonised as risk factor number one, Iran is viewed through rose-tinted glasses
and with stuffed ears. Although even the gentle pressure of the security council
has proved that sanctions benefit the Iranian opposition and make the internal
antagonisms of the regime more acute.

The public is mainly occupied with the question how Washington can be stopped
from stopping Teheran. The actual problem, the Iranian bomb, has moved to the
background. But everybody who reflexively tries to protect Ahmadinedschad’s Iran against
America – even when it comes to the last attempt at a peaceful solution, hard sanctions –
paves the way for exactly the scenario he is trying to prevent, a military

If Teheran isn’t put under immediate, massive pressure and is confronted with
the alternative to either change its course or suffer devastating economic
damages, then the only choice left will be one between a bad solution – the military
option – or a terrible one, the Iranian bomb.

The author is a political scientist and a board member of the international
association “Scholars for Peace in the Middle East”.

Matthias Küntzel: With Business Savvy into Catastrophe

Germany and Iran: First comes trade, then morals
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Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is not-for-profit [501 (C) (3)], grass-roots community of scholars who have united to promote honest, fact-based, and civil discourse, especially in regard to Middle East issues. We believe that ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, have no place in our institutions, disciplines, and communities. We employ academic means to address these issues.

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