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Germany's New Ostpolitik: Changing Iran

Courtesy Reuters

TRADING WITH THE ENEMY

German-American friendship has been a pillar of the Western alliance in the post--Cold War era, even when that alliance has been strained over issues ranging from Bosnia to trade liberalization. The U.S. and German governments have worked together on aid to Russia, NATO expansion, nuclear nonproliferation, and Middle East peace. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President Bill Clinton enjoy a natural rapport. But when it comes to dealing with Iran, Germany and America have consistently been at odds. Although the two governments have assured each other that their objectives in southwest Asia are the same--to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, supporting terrorism, and disrupting the Arab-Israeli peace process--they differ radically on which means to use. The United States has tried to isolate Iran diplomatically and strangle its economy. Germany--and Europe--favor engagement (what Bonn calls a "critical dialogue") built around a multibillion-dollar trade

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