Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is facing intense criticism for seeking to circumvent US financial sanctions on Iran

By INU Staff

INU - Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is facing intense criticism for seeking to circumvent US financial sanctions on Iran, but that hasn’t stopped him from doubling down on his troubling comments.

On Tuesday, August 21, Maas wrote an op-ed in the German daily paper Handelsblatt, in which he defended the flawed Iran nuclear deal, promised to work to evade these sanctions, and proposed the creation of an independent financial transaction system that did not include the US.

He wrote: “It was right to protect European companies legally from sanctions. It is therefore essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels independent of the US, a European monetary fund and an independent SWIFT [payments] system. The devil is in thousands of details. But every day that the Iran [nuclear] agreement lasts is better than the potentially explosive crisis that threatens the Middle East otherwise.”

The US wants to cut Iran off from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication(SWIFT) as part of their sanctions, which are designed to cripple the economy and force Iran to return to the negotiating table for a new nuclear deal. This new deal would address the other malign behaviours exhibited by the mullahs, like its ballistic weapons programme, human rights abuses, and its proxy warfare across the Middle East.

Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal in May, citing evidence that Iran still had an active nuclear programme.

The very next day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rebuked Maas for the article and confirmed that it did not represent German policy on Iran.

Merkel said: “On the question of independent payment systems, we have some problems in our dealings with Iran, no question, on the other hand we know that on questions of terrorist financing, for example, SWIFT is very important.”

Rather than acknowledge that the leader of his country was publically coming out against him and keep a dignified silence, Maas decided to go even further in his defence of the malign mullahs and the nuclear deal that enriched them greatly.

Thus, other people came on board to criticise Maas, particularly for what was seen as anti-Semitic pandering, and call for greater worldwide unity over the response to Iran and the dangers the Regime poses to the Middle East and the world at large.

Dr. Elvira Groezinger, the head of the German section of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, said: “Our German foreign policy as part of the foreign policy line of the European Union ignores the facts that Rohani is not a ‘moderate’ president... Human rights are violated there while the Sharia is being just as strictly implemented as before, and Iran is still inciting terror acts by radical Shiite Moslems, thus fueling the conflicts in the Middle East.”

Deidre Berger, head of the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee, said: “The lifting of sanctions has not brought political reform, economic progress or civil liberties. To the contrary, Iranians protest throughout the country that the regime has diverted the funds to pay for wars and terrorism. Europe should stop trade with Iran until the mullah regime takes concrete steps to stop its global terror campaign and respect human rights.