In all the excitement, it was easy to miss the fact that there were two very high level visitors to Iran late last week and then over the weekend: Turkish President Gul and German Foreign Minister Westerwelle. The sequence was not accidental.
Gul went first, and stayed for four days. The Turks and Iranians are constructing a very complex network of deals and schemes, from coordinating action against Israel, to making the two currencies interchangeable, to making commerce virtually unregulated, to building and maintaining oil and gas pipelines, enabling Turkey to buy Iranian product at bargain prices, and granting exploration and development concessions to Gul’s people.
And there is more, above all Turkey’s role as an enabler for the Iranians’ malevolent programs, from obtaining military technology to funneling cash to terrorists, to getting top euro for Iran’s stash of Western hostages. FOOTNOTE: hostages in Iran are never released unless ransom is paid. When you see hostages coming out, the only questions are 1)how much was paid? and 2) who paid it and how??
Gul was a middleman between the Germans and the Iranians in the matter of the release of two German journalists, whom Westerwelle collected in Tehran and accompanied back home. We need not rely on inside sources to assert a Turkish role. Gul bragged about it in public just today. However, we do need good sources to know what the deal was.
There’s lots of dual-use technology (stuff that can be used for weapons systems or for “civilian” projects) that the Germans want to sell to Iran, but they can’t because of sanctions. So the deal was a classic sanctions-busting maneuver. Germans will sell the stuff to the Turks. The Turks will send it on to the Iranians. And the Iranians toss in two hostages.
We can put it even more baldly. The Germans ransomed their hostages by evading sanctions and getting banned military technology to the Iranian regime.
To kill us and our friends.
Maybe even Germans.
So that’s today’s happy story about the real world. To which one further question must be asked. There are American hostages in Iran (4 or 5 of them depending on how you count). There are undoubtedly secret talks going on to establish the ransom. How much is Obama prepared to pay to gain the release of the Americans? Does it include our embarrassing silence on the mayhem the regime has unleashed against the Iranian people?
We could even go back and ask some questions about the female hiker released some months ago, and if we had serious journalists willing to ask serious albeit embarrassing questions, they would have inquired about her ransom (there was talk of half a million dollars in “bail”), and her trip home. She flew from Tehran to Qatar. Whose (apparently private) plane was it? Who paid for the pilots and the jet fuel?
It’s not just the Germans, alas.