Europe and Iran; what’s been going on? Well without us, no one would know, because we certainly haven’t seen any real updates in the English speaking press.
One exception was the Vancouver Sun which printed the AP piece (which received little to no traction), reporting that:
“The Interior Ministry says Spanish police have arrested three men on suspicion of spying on Iranian dissidents and reporting back to the ruling regime.
The suspects had allegedly infiltrated a Spanish NGO that helps asylum seekers and communicated to Iran’s secret services the identities of Iranians who fled the country for ideological reasons, a statement said.”
Unsurprisingly, based on the Canadian precedent:
“One of those arrested worked at the Iranian Embassy in Madrid. It was not immediately clear in what role.”
For my Spanish readers (and with thanks to my Spanish colleagues at Iran Media Focus), more info can be found here.
The newspaper “Siegener Zeitung” reports about the reason for failed negotiation:
“…According to the spokesman of the Insolvency Administration the reason for the failure of negotiations was disagreements on the terms of the contract. “Mapna Group would have been willing to take over the production, if they would be able also to participate in the companies know-how.” But that lies in large parts in the company German W2E (Wind to Energy) and a final agreement with this company couldn’t be reached…”
OK, so maybe they weren’t affected by my blogs!
It, in fact, appears that German companies are more than happy to go public about their cooperation with Iranian corporations, despite the sanctions.
“Sales Manager of WEILBURGER visited Iran few weeks ago and noticed that “especially the packaging industry in Iran is going through a rapid development. ” He continues: “Especially the increasing export of Iranian goods and the resulting market value of these products outside the country and within European borders gradually provide the brand owners to use food grade produced packaging and higher quality designs and finishes.”
It probably doesn’t help when German politicians accuse the head of the IAEA of being in bed with America:
We did not see this reported anywhere except for the obvious: A positive piece by Press TV.
The Österreichische Orient-Gesellschaft Hammer Purgstall canceled its cooperation with the cultural department of the Iranian embassy in Vienna and all other institutions of the Iranian regime. Prof. Bert Fragner, president of the Orient-Gesellschaft,declared: “We are cancelling any co-operation whatsoever with the Iranian official bodies in Vienna.” The Iranian embassy was removed from all announcements of the scheduled event.
Meanwhile in the UK think tank world, the debates surrounding Iran’s nuclear program and internal situation continue. Both the IISS and RUSI recently held debates on the matter. The IISS debate was particularly perturbing as they brought three die-hard supporters (Trita Parsi’s brother Rouzbeh Parsi, Mohammad Ali Shabani) of the regime to debate with each other! Despite representing the regime, when they were asked about the internal situation in Iran, incredibly, no one even mentioned the ‘medical crisis’ about which the New York Times seems to have a mild obsession.
That is our March European update. Thanks to the Iran Media Focus team for all help with the European languages on this little assignment!