Germany pressed to axe Iran deal



Pressure is mounting on Germany to cancel its approval of a major business deal between a German company and Iran.

Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Yoram Ben Ze’ev, reportedly has asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel to have the $156 million deal involving the Steiner-Prematechnik-Gastec Co. rescinded.

The German Federal Agency for Economics and Export Control approved the deal last week, spurring condemnation from the Israeli government and such international organizations as the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

According to the deal, SPG-Steiner will apply its method of turning gas into liquid fuel at three plants in Iran. The German firm’s expertise is reported to be unequalled in this field.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry suggesed that the deal goes against the spirit of the United Nations and European Union sanctions designed to press Iran to drop its nuclear ambitions. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad has verbally threatened the destruction of Israel.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said that Germany, Great Britain and France were undermining international efforts to isolate Iran. Israel and Germany reportedly planned to hold high-level talks on the matter.

Merkel spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told Die Welt that the deal was “not in keeping” with the intent of sanctions policies. He said Merkel, who is on vacation, would be informed about the deal.

Wilhelm added that Germany was playing a leading role in pushing for increased EU sanctions looking ahead to talks in Brussels.

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