Merkel’s green light for $157m gas deal with Iran torpedoes sanctions

German chancellor Angela Merkel blunted – in advance – the big-power drive for sanctions to punish Iran for its nuclear defiance. When Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili faced the US, European Union, the UK, France, Russia, Geneva and China in Geneva on July 19, he knew that their two-week ultimatum for Tehran’s answer to their incentives offer could be sidestepped with impunity.
debkafile‘s intelligence and Gulf sources report that a key sanction on the table was a ban on technology that would reduce Iran’s dependence on refined fuel products. However, as far back as February, Merkel approved a $157 million deal for the SPG (Steiner-Prematechnik Gastec) to build three plants that convert gas to liquid fuels in the Islamic Republic.
The deal was approved a month before the German chancellor’s March stood up in the Knesset, promised to push for further sanctions against Iran and declared that Israel’s security was “nonnegotiable.”
The chancellor saw no reason for Germany to hold back on trade with Iran when in June US embarked on a secret dialogue with Tehran, in July Israel decided not to complain to Berlin for fear for jeopardizing its prisoner swap with Hizballah through a German mediator, and the European Union was busy doing business with Tehran and Damascus.
Her party colleague, Harmut Schaerte was therefore instructed to push the government Export Control Office to expedite the sale. SPG directors admitted in German press interviews that were it not for Schaerte’s pressure, they would have abandoned the deal.
Only after the transactions became public, did Jerusalem belatedly asked Berlin for “clarifications.”
Since then, British prime minister Gordon Brown has been pushing European leaders to extend sanctions to include liquefied gas technology. And after Iran test-fired long-range ballistic Shehab-3 missiles, the French company Total withdrew from a liquefied gas project when Paris asked French companies not to respond to Iranian tenders.
The German chancellor has therefore decided to break away from the international front working for escalated sanctions against Iran – even though this means throwing Israel’s “nonnegotiable” security to the winds.

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