Tuesday, April 05, 2011

'German firms finance world champ in Holocaust denial'

Merkel administration tells 'Post' “Iran sanctions will be discussed with Netanyahu"; German Jewish leader slams Iran funding.
BERLIN - The new president of Germany's 105,000-member Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, launched on Monday a withering attack on German companies, the Merkel Administration and the country's central bank (Bundesbank) for their continued business deals with an Iranian regime that denies the Holocaust and supports terror movements.“That far too many German firms continue unimpeded to conduct their repugnant business with the Iranian terror regime, the reigning world champion in Holocaust denial, is unfortunately a fact, and continues to be a crying shame," said Dr. Dieter Graumann in the main business Germany daily Handelsblatt. In sharp terms he criticized the Merkel Administration for failing to include the EIH, the Hamburg-based European-Iranian trade bank, in the EU sanctions list against Iran. US Treasury Department termed the EIH one of the most important financial conduits in Europe for Iran's nuclear and missile programs. According to a Handelsblatt article on Tuesday, Merkel stopped EIH's (and the Bundesbank) future processing of India's Iranian oil crude payments, but did not pull the plug on the EIH financial operation, which continues to operate in Hamburg.A Merkel Administration wrote to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, saying that it is “likely that in the discussion between the Federal Chancellor and Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu Iran will also be a topic and, if necessary, the implementation of Iran sanctions.”Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are slated to meet on Thursday in Berlin. When asked if the the Merkel Administration will close the US-sanctioned EIH, her spokeswoman said the EU does not bar transactions with the EIH because the EIH is not included on the EU sanctions list.However, Gerhard Schick, the financial spokesman for the powerful opposition Green Party said Monday in Handelsblatt, “Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Economics Minister Brüderle must as fast as possible make sure that the EIH is finally in the EU sanctions list.”Merkel and Westerwelle have resisted the inclusion of the EIH in the EU sanctions list during last year's EU Iran sanctions negotiations.Since Graumann assumed office in late 2010, he has taken an assertive role in criticizing Germany's roughly 4 billion euro annual trade relationship with Iran. Traditionally, Germany is Iran's most important EU trade partner. Amid the fury last week that German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle appears to have green lighted billions of euros in Iranian crude oil payments via the Hamburg-based European-Iranian trade bank (EIH), which raised troubling concerns from the US Treasury department. Graumann said: "This bank should not be in the German banking world, this bank should be prohibited. It has long been known that this institute is an instrument and henchman of the Tehran regime, which provides the fanatic mullahs there with significant financial means, with which they in turn finance hatred, terror, death, and the nuclear program there."An Israeli diplomat in Berlin told the Post that the Israeli government took notice of the EIH scandal and the matter is being seriously discussed in the Foreign Ministry. Yinam Cohen, an Israeli Embassy spokesman in Berlin, told the Post last week that the EIH bank operation ought to be shut down.Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, facilitated the commercial transactions for the EIH and Foreign Ministry. Graumann lamented that the German authorities have "persistently refused" to include the EIH on the EU terror list. "If this attitude were now finally going to be corrected in Germany, that would be more than appropriate," said Graumann in the Handelsblatt.

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