The Magazine

German-Iranian Relations

A lovers' discourse.

Nov 30, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 11 • By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
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Despite declarations from Merkel that Israel's existence is integral to Germany's national security interests, then, the Iranians have used German vessels to transport weaponry to murder Israelis and destabilize the region in violation of U.N. sanctions imposed on Iran.

And add the striking irony of Merkel's administration agreeing to employ German naval carriers to enforce the 2006 U.N.-brokered cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel during the Second War in Lebanon. Germany deployed its navy as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon to prevent the rearming of Hezbollah along the Lebanese coast. Three years of patrols have brought zero seizures by Germany's marine forces, even as private German shipping firms charter their vessels to Iran's merchants of death.

Merkel's speech ignored the reality on the ground between Iran and Germany. Iranian despot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rapidly exporting his brand of revolutionary Iranian anti-Semitism to the Middle East and to South and Central America. What better way could Merkel find to confront the mullahs than to announce that the Federal Republic of Germany is prepared to cease economic activity with Iran and recall its ambassador because of the regime's denial of the Holocaust; its refusal to suspend its nuclear enrichment program; and Tehran's threats to "wipe Israel off the map."

Moreover, Merkel's party controls the interior ministry and is thus uniquely positioned to ban Hezbollah and its 900 active members in Germany. Hezbollah remains a legal political organization in Germany and serves as a funding stream for its Iran-affiliated network in Lebanon.

A new "Berlin Wall" and "short- sighted self-interests" were Merkel's jabs at Congress for failing to push for radical environmental standards. Germany's fixation on scolding the Americans is child's play when compared with the effect of Germany's main security blind spot, namely, its 25-year-old dalliance with the Islamic Republic and the relationship's deleterious effects on the security of the international community.

Should the second Merkel administration wish to fulfill its lofty rhetoric about tearing down new Berlin Walls worldwide it might instead decide to aid Iranian democrats seeking a collapse of the wall separating them from freedom. How about a lover's discourse with the pro-democracy movement in Iran rather than with the mullahs' incorrigibly reactionary regime?

Benjamin Weinthal is the Jerusalem Post's correspondent in Berlin.