German Iran-link bank under fire


Protesters in Germany demanded this week the closure of an Iran-owned bank which they claim helps finance the regime's nuclear programme.

The demonstration, which was made up of Jewish, Christian, exile-Iranian and other groups, was organised by Stop the Bomb, a German NGO.

It follows heightened pressure by the US government on Germany to crack down on the European-Iranian Trade Bank.

"Iran is a great danger for Israel and the rest of the world," said Wolfgang Seibert, head of the Jewish community of Pinneberg, who was at the protest. "And if the German government supports this bank, it is a stain on Germany's reputation."

According to Fox News, the US treasury already has put the bank on its no-go list. Eleven US Senators wrote to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle earlier this month urging him to take action to close down the bank because of its "financial support of Iran's nuclear proliferation activities".

Meanwhile, Mr Westerwelle's meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad in Tehran last week coincided with the release of two German journalists from an Iranian prison.

The pair had been held in custody for 133 days for trying to interview the son of a woman convicted to death by stoning for alleged adultery.

The woman's attorney now faces a death sentence, said Michael Spaney, spokesperson for Stop the Bomb.

He said it seemed the German government only cared about German citizens in Iran but not about the Iranian people themselves.

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