Commentary Magazine


Calling Out Europe on Iran

According to the Washington Times, Sens. Evan Bayh and Tom Coburn called on Sunday for an increase in sanctions against doing business with Iran:

The U.S. government must “really crack down on companies doing business with Iran, to increase the cost of that business, to drive up the price of violating these sanctions on the part of the Iranians,” Mr. Bayh, Indiana Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

For a starting point, look no further. On Monday, Eli Lake in the same Washington Times confirmed a story reported in the Jerusalem Post almost a year ago. Nokia Siemens Network, a joint venture of Finnish Nokia and German Siemens, sold Iran telecom technology for phone and internet intercepts — something Iran is reportedly using to monitor and pro-(per)-secute dissidents.

All protestations of innocence are hollow — even EU legislation forbids this type of export, when there is evidence that the products in question will be used for repressive purposes. So it would not hurt for the U.S. to poke European firms, in the hope that EU member states apply their legislation a bit more thoroughly when it comes to sales of sensitive technology to Iran.