Tags: heiko maas | iran | sanctions

Don't Underestimate the Arrogance of Iranian Leadership

Don't Underestimate the Arrogance of Iranian Leadership
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and his German counterpart Heiko Maas give a joint press conference in the capital Tehran on June 10, 2019. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

By Thursday, 13 June 2019 12:51 PM Current | Bio | Archive

For months German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has been leading a movement to "end around" U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The logic behind Maas' thinking is that Iran needs to be strong enough to make good decisions and Iran cannot make important decisions if they are starving. It's like a parent asking their child to have a good breakfast before an important exam so that they can think clearly. But Germany is not Iran's parent and Iran, however willful and self-absorbed, is certainly not a child. So now Germany is leading the pack of those nations still part of the infamous Nuke Deal.

Germany, together with France and Great Britain, is striving to save the Deal. The principle of the agreement Maas has cobbled together was announced in Tehran during a visit by the German foreign minister to Iran.

The system is called Instex. It is a barter-based exchange with Iran that was specifically designed as a way to circumvent the far reaching sanctions the United States has imposed on Iran. Those sanctions, which were created to squeeze Iran into submission, are so all-encompassing that they cascade and send ripples through any company, bank, business that does business with Iran.

The motivation behind joining the move for Instex is the fear felt by the Deal's European partners that an out of control Iran is an extremely dangerous Iran.

Maas designed a system in which his government and/or any of the other governments signing onto his plan along with the EU will cover the losses sustained by a company should the United States sanction them for business they are engaging in with Iran. The special twist in this arrangement is the barter system initiated by Maas which stipulates that no actual money is exchanged.

The sanctions, as set down by the United States, do not permit bartering. However, the United Nations imposed sanctions against Iran do not prohibit bartering. When push comes to shove, the Europeans are convinced that they will win when the case comes before the World Court.

One would think that Iran would be receptive to the gesture Germany and the others are making. It is, after all, an attempt to help Iranians. But that would be, once again, to underestimate the arrogance of Iranian leadership. Rather than saying thank you and may you be blessed for this kind gesture on our behalf, German Foreign Minister Maas is being portrayed as a Zionist-Nazi in official, state-controlled, Iranian media.

Iranian leadership is incapable of breaking out of their machismo image and incapable of realistically perceiving the situation. The blinders they wear render them unable to adequately assess the various variables and players in almost every situation. Everyone is an enemy. Iran stands alone.

The official Iranian response to Instex as articulated by Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi was: “So far, we have not seen practical and tangible steps from the Europeans to guarantee Iran’s interests ... Teheran will not discuss any issue beyond the nuclear deal ...The EU is not in a position to question Iran’s issues beyond the nuclear deal.”

Germany and partners are trying to help. They are setting up a good cop versus bad cop scenario, and the bad cop, of course, is the United States. And like self-absorbed and defensive children, the Iranians cannot understand that they are turning away a generous, perhaps lifesaving, offer of help.

Obviously, the White House rejected the European gesture. Ironically, we finally have an issue on which both the United States and Iran agree.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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For months German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has been leading a movement to "end around" U.S. sanctions against Iran.
heiko maas, iran, sanctions
Thursday, 13 June 2019 12:51 PM
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