BERLIN, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomed the new European Union sanctions adopted in response to Iran's continued defiance of the international community on its nuclear-weapons program.
The sanctions, approved yesterday by EU foreign ministers, target Iran's energy, transportation, and banking sectors. The EU action follows the adoption of toughened measures against Iran by Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the United States, after the UN Security Council passed a fourth economic sanctions resolution in June.
"The EU action is a long overdue step toward weakening the Iranian regime's capability to cross the nuclear-weapons threshold," said Deidre Berger, director of AJC's Berlin Office, "but only if the EU adopts tough enforcement measures to ensure compliance. Let's be clear: A nuclear Iran would constitute an unparalleled threat to Middle East and world security, including Europe's."
AJC also pointed out with dismay that the new EU sanctions come at a time of growing, not decreasing, European trade with Iran.
"While Iran flouts UN Security council resolutions, European trade with Iran is flourishing," said Berger. "Iran ignores the international community's calls to stop its nuclear program, funds terrorism, and brutally oppresses its political opposition."
Trade with Iran rose significantly in the first six months of 2010, compared to 2009, according to EU statistics. In Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, there was a 14 percent increase in exports to Iran and in France a 17 percent increase.
There was a slight decrease of 3 percent in Austrian exports, and a 14 percent decrease in exports from the United Kingdom to Iran.
European imports from Iran increased significantly, with a 226 percent jump in imports to the UK, 99 percent to Germany, 52 percent to Austria, and 46 percent to Italy.
AJC called on the German government, as well as other European governments, to urge companies to follow the example of several major German corporations that have halted trade with Iran. Since last January, Siemens, Daimler, Muenchner Rueck, Allianz, Linde, and Thyssen Krupp, among others, have stopped new contracts with Iran.
AJC, the global advocacy organization, has actively supported diplomatic and economic efforts aimed at persuading Iran to end its nuclear-weapons quest. In that vein, AJC raised the Iranian nuclear issue directly in private meetings last month with the leaders of 70 countries who came to New York for the UN General Assembly.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee