The Daily Demarche
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Shahab-4? Never heard of it...
There can really be no doubt about it- the EU continues to actively undermine the security of the world. Earlier this month the EU set off a firestorm when it announced that a long standing ban on weapons sales to China could end soon.:

The idea of such sales "raise fundamental questions about whether defense industrial cooperation with Europe is becoming a national security liability for our country," said GOP Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

This cheerful bit of news came after China announced details of it's new anti-secession law which "enshrines into law China's determination to use "non-peaceful means" as a last resort to prevent Taiwan from establishing formal independence. "

But hey, the Euro economy is in the tank, and China is a big, rich market. Besides, the United States will ride in to save the day again, after all we always have as far as Europe is concerned. Of course of all the EU economies Germany's is really not doing so well:

For all its tolerance and cosmopolitanism, Berlin is broke. Its citizens are poor, and it has an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent, far higher than any major city in western Germany.

So what is a technologically advanced but penniless country to do? Why, sell equipment that may be used to manufacture long range ballistic missiles to Iran, of course.

The export of a German special-purpose crane to Teheran is turning into a political headache for the German government. Officials are scrambling to stop a ship carrying a high-tech crane they believe Iran's leaders want to use in a missile production program that has raised deep concern in Israel, the US and Europe. They may be too late.

[SNIP]

As soon as the Hual Africa, which is registered in the Bahamas, left Hamburg, it dawned on customs officials that the Iranian company is on a black list held by the federal authorities. Mizan Machine is believed to be a camouflage company for the Iranian weapons program and to have already procured several weapons components. The equipment never should have left Germany.

According to the article cited above the crane was purchased in August and not shipped until April- but "as soon as" the ship left Hamburg they realized their mistake. Oops. Deutsche-Welle has an even better take on the sale:

Iran on Sunday dismissed a report that it bought equipment from Germany for its ballistic missile program, and complained that European restrictions were damaging trade with the Islamic republic. "This is an unfounded theory," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters. "It's not very clear how crane equipment can be used in Shahab 3 and 4 production."

Iran has recently upgraded the Shahab-3 ballistic missile, believed to be based on a North Korean design, to have a range of at least 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles). Iran has, however, denied working on a Shahab-4 -- even though Asefi referred to one.

Since Iran is not producing a new long range missile and of course does not need this crane to do so, and there is no way they are working weapons grade nuclear material, what is the big deal over a little sale between friends of an item that could possibly be used to produce a theoretical nuclear missile? I am sure that the Germans had a thought process similar to this before selling the crane to the Mullahs.

Our European "allies" care not a whit for keeping terrorism at bay, stopping Communist China from re-taking Taiwan by force (let alone Japan) or threats to Israel- they are only concerned with proving that the EU is the equal of the US, and are willing to risk everything to do so. Even the Belgians are getting into the act- check out this post at the Export Control Blog about the sale of an isostatic press (possible uses include the compacting of nuclear material) to, you guessed it, Iran. So while an Iranian ministry spokesman refers to a weapons platform that his country has denied exists and German customs officials sheepishly scuff their toes in the dust the only real power left in the world is forced to make decisions that the rest of the world will most likely find fault with.

Should Iran indeed develop a nuclear weapon, what will it mean to Europe? Probably nothing- until the Iranians sell one and it ends up in some European capital. But that is unlikely to happen, and the EU knows it, because the much despised Uncle Sam is ever vigilant- more so than ever with "friends" like the EU on our side.
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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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