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Austria’s Iran Connection

Next month will mark the 70th anniversary of the Aunschluss, in which Nazi troops marched into Austria and formally dissolved the state, merging it into Hitler’s nascent empire. Some time, then, for Austria to be propping up one of the most dangerous regimes on earth: Iran. According to a piece by Simone Dinah Hartmann appearing in the Jerusalem Post, Austria is one of the few Western countries engaged in massive investment in the Ayatollahs’ regime, most notably a 22 billion Euro natural gas deal signed last Spring.

The state-owned OVD company that signed the deal has a long history of unpleasant dealings: In 1968, just months after the Prague Spring, it signed the first Western gas deal with the Soviet Union; in the 1980s it worked closely with Libya; and in 2003 it was the last Western fuel company to pull out of Sudan. The OVD deal, like other deepening business ties between Austria and Iran, apparently have the hearty backing of all the major factions in parliament — including the ruling Social-Democrat party, which one might think would be concerned about Iran’s record on human rights.

This is a timely test for the new Europe, an opportunity for the more seriously anti-Iranian governments in France and Germany to show their influence on European affairs, and a scary reminder of how much can be forgotten.


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