German MPs reject Steinmeier’s sanction against Iran

April 9, 2009

BERLIN (IRNA) -- Lawmakers of all parties in German Parliament, except the co-ruling Social Democrats (SPD), slammed Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier for planning to step up sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, the daily Der Tagesspiegel said Wednesday.

Legislators of the co-governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as well as the opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Greens warned that Steinmeier’s new sanction threats would undermine any diplomatic progress in resolving the impasse over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The MPs argued also that new sanctions would severely impact growing German-Iranian trade, as German companies would ultimately lose the important Iranian market to competitors from Russia, India, China, the U.S. and other European Union countries.
German exports to Iran surged around 10 percent in 2008 to reach nearly four billion euros, compared to 3.6 billion euros in 2007, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
Steinmeier is also isolated within the German government over his controversial Iran sanction strategy, the paper said.
The economic section of the German chancellery as well as the economic ministry has strongly opposed Steinmeier’s latest Iran sanction initiative.
Meanwhile, the influential chairman of foreign affairs committee of the German Parliament, Ruprecht Polenz cautioned that Steinmeier’s threats against Tehran could seriously jeopardize the resumption of U.S.-Iranian talks.
He voiced explicit opposition to the so-called western strategy of ‘sticks and carrots’.
“The Iranians want to be treated with respect,” Polenz made clear.
His remarks were echoed by two MPs from the FDP, Werner Hoyer and Elke Hoff, both of whom strongly rejected Steinmeier’s embargo plans, calling instead for restarting the Iran dialogue.
The deputy chairman of the Green faction, Juergen Trittin urged Berlin to finally abandon what he branded as the ‘threatening policy of the Bush era’ and involve Iran in a regional Mideast peace architecture.