Saturday, January 22nd | 20 Shevat 5782

July 21, 2015 1:37 pm

Jewish Group Says ‘History Repeating Itself’ With German Rush to do Business With Iran

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel flew to Iran Sunday. Photo: Twitter.

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel flew to Iran Sunday. Photo: Twitter.

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper balked at Monday’s announcement that Germany and Iran are planning to hold their first joint economic conference in 10 years, and warned that the forum sounded like “history repeating itself.”

“In the 1980s, German firms played key role in helping Saddam Hussein emerge as a menace to the region, Israel and the world, especially with dual usage projects,” Cooper told The Algemeiner, referring to German firms that were crucial in abetting the Hussein regime’s development of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction.

“It’s true the German official declared openly in Tehran that Germany is committed to Israel, but the Mullahs will be laughing all the way to the bank. Iranian pedestrians beware or they can be knocked down by the wave of businessmen swooping down on Tehran — led by Germans and Austrians,” said Cooper.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who led a trade delegation to Tehran this week, that he hoped Germany would play a “positive role” reinvigorating business ties between Iran and the EU, both of which stand to benefit economically from the nuclear deal struck by world powers and Iran last week.

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Iran’s deputy oil minister for Europe and the Americas, Hossein Esmaeli, told Iranian Press TV that the German trade delegation included representatives from leading German firms such as Linde, Siemens, Mercedes, BASF and Volkswagen Group, among others.

During the visit, Gabriel also called on Iran to reconsider its hostile stance towards Israel, saying, “With the nuclear agreement and the economic recovery that will surely come after it, Iran will also bear new responsibilities, at home and abroad.”

“You must understand that for us Germans, the security of the state of Israel is also of great importance,” he added.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson quickly rejected the notion.

According to Deutsche Welle‎, German exports to Iran suffered greatly in the period between 2010 and 2013, sinking to 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) from 4.7 billion ($5.1 billion). Iran’s official IRNA news outlet quoted Iranian officials as saying the planned conference would be held in late summer or early fall and will center around boosting trade amid the lifting of international sanctions related to the country’s disputable nuclear program.

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