In business, the early bird really does catch the worm and, mindful of that, European firms are rushing with headlong alacrity to do deals with Iran – even though pro-forma the sanctions against the ayatollah regime hadn’t yet been lifted.
Speediest and most impatient of all are the Germans, who cannot contain their zeal to profit. They dispatched a high-level 60-member delegation topped by Angela Merkel’s second-in-command along with representatives from such industrial giants as Linde, Siemens, Mercedes-Daimler, Volkswagen, et al.
To be sure, while the Germans are keenest to rake in the benefits of dealing with the genocidal enemies of the Jewish state, they have special incentives to appear righteous.
And so Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, advised the Iranians to “improve their relations with Israel,” recognize it, etc. Gabriel solicitously offered Germany’s unsolicited mediation services. To be sure, had he even loudly shouted his moralistic message in Farsi – in the center of Tehran – it’s doubtful the ayatollahs could repress their derisive laughter.
However, this lip service was paid only in an interview to the German paper Bild, making it little more than inconsequential.
Germany, of course, isn’t alone. It’s just quicker and more shamelessly raring to go than its neighbors. Europe’s eagerness for commercial transactions with Iran might well lend the impression to the uninitiated that all sanctions were already dropped, that Iran had fully demonstrated that it was upholding its end of the bargain, that it was fully rehabilitated, that it had quit the terror racket, abandoned its nuclear ambitions and that the ayatollahs enlisted in a pacifist sect.
It’s as if reentering Iran is an irresistible money-making magnet for a whole gamut of voracious concerns – from banks and financial conglomerates to the oil and gas sector and even carmakers and assorted manufacturers.
Planeloads of gung-ho executives are due in Tehran from numerous European firms for “exploratory” talks, while the ink on the Vienna deal has hardly dried. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi plan to visit Iran soon too. Also hot on the German heels are the British, Dutch, Swiss, Spanish and others. Simultaneously, on Europe’s east loom the Russians and from Asia come equally enthusiastic Chinese and South Korean overtures toward Tehran.
The entire phenomenon is both mind-boggling and disheartening, to say the least.
It pays to recall that while Europeans and Asians fall over themselves to restore chumminess with Iran – its terror-mongering and nuclear machinations notwithstanding – the international community is awash with amplified boycott threats against democratic Israel.
The tone for the surge of interest in the Iranian economy is set in Washington, which once spearheaded sanctions on Iran but has now changed tack.
Ironically American corporations are hobbled by Washington’s own bureaucratic regulations which impede their ability to more rapidly gain from resurrecting trade with an economy that comprises the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and its second-largest natural gas reserves.
Equally ironic is the fact that some of those who now most acutely cannot resist the Iranian lure, cynically never really ceased their operations there in full, regardless of the sanctions. Siemens presents a most disturbing case in point.
Siemens claimed to have been obliged by old contracts which only involved sectors not covered by the sanctions. Still, the Stuxnet virus – which damaged Iranian centrifuges for enriching uranium and which was widely attributed to Israel – ended up attacking Siemens components. This fact alone should constitute ample food for thought.
Iran’s buoyed business boosters assert that dangling the prosperity carrot before the ayatollahs would moderate them. In fact, though, odds are that lifting constraints on Iranian oil exports, access to bank holdings abroad and funding for assorted construction and other ventures would have the directly opposite impact.
It would financially transfuse Tehran’s nuclear program and its unprecedented terror-sponsorship worldwide.
Iran, in other words, is shown that it can literally stick to its guns and further its “non-negotiable” genocidal plots against Israel, while the response from Washington is implausible indulgence that triggers an unnerving impetuous competition in Europe and Asia for lucrative Iranian opportunities.