The Berlin Airlift

No, not this one. This one.

Iran

Iranian Plan to ‘Airlift $350 Million’ From Germany to Tehran Sparks U.S. Anger

The U.S. ambassador to Germany has called on Berlin to block an Iranian plan to withdraw 300 million euros ($350 million) of cash from bank accounts in Germany to offset the effect of new U.S. financial sanctions imposed after Washington withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal.

This comes after Washington recently announced new sanctions on Iran and ordered all countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November and foreign firms to stop doing business there or face U.S. blacklists.

Der Iran will 300 Millionen Euro in Deutschland loseisen und per Flieger heimholen. Die USA und Israel sind nicht erfreut.

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The Iran Deal Is Not Dead

It just smells funny. At least that’s what Germany seems to think.

Iran

You see, spokesmen for German industry plan to call up Donald Trump and explain to him that the “US Iran call is illegal.” Then, once they’ve straightened that up with him, everything ought to be hunky dory, right? And they can go back to getting moola from the mullahs again.

They better hurry up, though. America’s new ambassador to Germany has only been in office for twenty-four hours and already has a really bad case of ITF (Itchy Twitter Finger).

For the past year, German officials have been urging their U.S. counterparts to send a new ambassador to Berlin. But after finally receiving one, many may be having second thoughts.

Within hours of assuming his new post on Tuesday, Richard Grenell triggered harsh criticism in this Trump-weary country after appearing to threaten one of the American president’s frequent targets: German businesses.

“German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”

German Of The Day: Oligarch

That means oligarch. Take former chancellor Gerhard “Gazprom Gerd” Schroeder, for instance. Please.

Gerd

Sanctions aimed at key individuals can be surprisingly effective, it turns out. They help to undermine internal support for the regime or at least its most unattractive policies.

One oligarch, though, remains overlooked. Arguably he is the most important of all. That’s former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Mr. Schroeder has been a one-man Trojan horse against every European Union commitment to curb Russian energy leverage and improve the competitiveness of its gas market. Notice that the alternative was never to shut Russian gas out of Germany. It was simply for Germany, at every step, to stop lending itself to the enhancement of Russia’s energy power, with Mr. Schroeder leading the influence brigades.

Schröders Engagement in Russland und Nähe zu Putin, den er einen Freund nennt, stößt seit Jahren auf Argwohn. Im vergangenen September ließ sich der Altkanzler allen Einwänden zum Trotz zum Aufsichtsratsvorsitzenden des halbstaatlichen russischen Ölkonzerns Rosneft wählen.

“Sanctions Against North Korea Apparently Ineffective”

Like, duh. How could they be effective if countries like Germany, and a number of other “cooperative States,” keep letting the North Koreans get around them?

Korea

North Korea procured equipment and technology for its ballistics missiles program using its embassy in Berlin, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has said.

“We determined that procurement activities were taking place there, from our perspective with an eye on the missile program, as well as the nuclear program to some extent,” BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen told public broadcaster NDR in an interview.

Falsche Ladepapiere, ungewöhnliche Schifffahrtsrouten, das Verladen von Öl auf hoher See: Nordkorea umgeht offenbar systematisch alle bestehenden internationalen Sanktionen. Ein brisanter UN-Bericht bringt nun eine Reihe kooperierender Staaten in Bedrängnis.

US-Amerikan Gas Conspiracy In Full Swing

German survey time – and no Russian influence here, either. Honest: BASF-owned Wintershall, one of Gazprom’s closest upstream partners and backer of its Nord Stream 2 project, has published results of a survey which it says indicate that most Germans not only oppose an expansion of US sanctions against Russia but also prefer Russian gas to US LNG.

LNG

More than three-quarters (77 percent) believe that the US is attempting to bolster its own economic interests in the European natural gas market… The survey also showed that the vast majority of Germans (83 percent) reject the planned increase in US economic sanctions, which would also restrict the actives of German and European companies. Only seven percent considered criticism of planned US sanctions as exaggerated.

“Whereas half the Germans surveyed support a further diversification of the natural gas provision, only six percent want more imports of US LNG,”

European Gazprom Lobby Outraged By US Senate Bill

A US Senate bill aimed at toughening sanctions on Russia has been slammed by leading members of the European Gazprom lobby as a dirty American trick to promote bad American liquefied petroleum gas and squeeze out good Russian gas from the European market.

Gazprom

The two outraged Gazprom spokespersons, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) and German chancellor Angela Merkel, reminded the Americans that “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Germany, that is, Europe to decide and not for the United States of America! We, as Germans, would never put our own economic interests before those of other countries or continents so like stop doing it immediately already. Did I just say we, as Germans? I meant we, as Europeans, of course.”

Ex-Kanzler Gerhard Schröder (SPD) leitet den Verwaltungsrat des Unternehmens Nord Stream II, das dem russischen Energiekonzern Gazprom gehört. Kürzlich erst hatten sich Gabriel, Schröder und der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin am Rande des russischen internationalen Wirtschaftsforums in St. Petersburg getroffen. Schröder hatte auf dem Forum für den Bau der Nordstream-Pipeline geworben.

 

Germans Arrive In Tehran For Piece Talks

Piece of the pie talks, that is.

Roughly four minutes after a deal with world powers over Iran’s nuclear program was reached, Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel flew down to Tehran (and boy are his arms tired) in another selfless attempt to bring more love and understanding to the troubled  region and make tons and tons of money selling German stuff to the moolah-mullahs again in the process.

Iran

German exports to Iran hit 4.4 billion euros in 2005 but then slumped to 1.8 billion by 2013 as the West tightened the sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear programme. However, the agreement between Iran and six world powers including Germany has opened the prospect that the sanctions will be removed.

Gazprom Gerd Pushing To Pass More Russian Gas

To Germany, that is. Not less (less was yesterday).

Gerd

And being chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee of Nord Stream, the Russian-German natural gas pipeline (51 percent owned by Gazprom, the Russian state gas monopoly), has absolutely nothing whatsoever at all in the slightest to do with this push one itty-bitty tiny little bit.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) said Wednesday that Germany should deepen energy ties with Russia and urged an end to sanctions. Schroeder, who served as Social Democratic chancellor from 1998 to 2005, retains close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and celebrated his 70th birthday this year in St. Petersburg, where he was photographed in a bear hug with the Russian leader.

“We would be well-advised to further expand this energy and raw materials partnership with Russia.”

Germany Increases Pressure On Russia By Selling It An Oil Company

Berlin is set to approve the sale of one of Germany’s largest oil producers to a Russian consortium, in a move that may undercut U.S. and E.U. sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for its role in stoking the conflict in Ukraine.

Oil

Der Verkauf galt wegen der Rolle Russlands in der Ukraine-Krise als politisch umstritten. Die Bundesregierung hat bei derartigen Transaktionen ein Mitspracherecht nach dem Außenwirtschaftsgesetz.

Is The Party Over?

While Germany has so far led the regional recovery, it is feeling the pain of increasing political tension. The European Union agreed last week on its widest-ranging sanctions yet over Russia’s backing of rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia counts Germany as its biggest trading partner in Europe.

Germany

“The manufacturing-sector outlook does not look encouraging.”

Die Konjunktur läuft nicht mehr rund – Industrie-Aufträge mit stärkstem Minus seit 2011