Europe’s ‘Lust’ for Iranian Business Drove the Nuclear Deal
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said recently that Russia would begin delivering its advanced S-300 surface-to-air Missiles to Iran “by the end of the year.” He added that Iran was further negotiating the purchase of 30 Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets.
These are weapons systems that would make a rogue Iranian nuclear-program immune to foreign interference, and make the prospect of Israeli self-defense against a country that has promised to annihilate it almost impossible. But for money’s sake, such deals are sealed.
Sadly, though, these deals with Russia are nothing out of the ordinary. Since the signing of the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran, nations, especially in Europe, have taken no pain to hide their eagerness to profit from it.
That money is a factor in international politics is obvious. Historically speaking, most international conflicts and treaties have been conducted with some overarching economic concern. I once heard Elie Wiesel say in public that he believed that one of the principal factors motivating Hitler’s slaughter of the Jews was his desire to steal their property to finance his wars. But with the nuclear deal signed with Iran this past July, money isn’t just a part of the equation for the Europeans; it’s the main engine behind it.
Even those powers that helped forge the deal, ostensibly for international security stability, have been shamelessly watering at the mouth as they set their eyes upon what they see as the Iranian goldmine. And the speed with which they stalked new business opportunities with the brutal autocracy betrays what can only be described as a pure and unbridled lust.
Within days of the signing of the deal in Vienna, and even before Congress had begun to discuss it, European countries pounced upon Iran, hounding for profitable investments and potential markets.
To see this, you wouldn’t even have to leave Vienna. There was an EU-Iran trade and investment conference held in the city just a week after the deal was signed.
But already before then, just five days after the signing of the nuclear agreement, Germany sent a delegation to Tehran. Of course, this wasn’t just a diplomatic trip. Accompanying German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel were top officials from German industrial mega-corporations, including Siemens, Daimler, Volkswagen and ThyssenKrupp.
Two weeks later, France would follow, sending its very own Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. By the third week, Italy had jumped in, too, dispatching its own crew of government ministers. And about Italy: An Italian bank, Mediobanca, signed a memorandum of understanding in Tehran in early August to finance deals between Italian and Iranian businesses. The body guaranteeing these loans, of course, was the Italian government itself, which publicly predicted a swelling of Italian exports to Iran to $3.3 billion by the end of 2018.
By September of this year, about 80 top executives from leading French corporations are expected to head eastward to Iran. Investments worth $185 billion are said to be in the works for Iran’s oil infrastructure, and French hotel chains are preparing to cash in on what might become a thriving Iranian tourism industry. Corporate giants such as BASF, Peugeot, Total, Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum are said to be gearing up for their own grand entrance into the Iranian markets and industries. In the words of Harry Tchilinguirian, head of the BNP Paribas Bank (which was fined $8.9 billion for doing illegal business with Iran): “What you are seeing is corporate oil diplomacy taking place.”
Indeed, many are beginning to refer to Iran as a contemporary “El Dorado.”
There is no doubt that the temptation of Iranian markets has played far too great a role in an accord that was meant to be about peace and international security in the world’s most violent and turbulent region. One might safely assume, too, that it was this eagerness to conduct profitable business that led the world’s leading nations to ignore Iran’s atrocious human rights record, its hanging of gays from cranes in public squares, its allowance of honor-killings, its state sponsorship of widespread international terrorism, and most importantly, its constant genocidal threats against the world’s only Jewish state.
Nations, especially Europe, have allowed the rush of monetary promise to obscure their moral view. They’ve chosen profit over peace, and gain before international order.
Sadly, that’s all done. All we can do now, as Americans, is to demand from our members of Congress that they put an end to this money-madness and lead the world’s leaders back to some moral bearing. Iran is a regime that has repeatedly threatened another holocaust against the Jewish people and continues to finance the world’s most foremost murderer, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Such a regime cannot be welcomed into the community of nations unchanged.
Any financial losses incurred in the process be damned.
Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is founder of The World Values Network and is the international bestselling author of 30 books. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.