US Under Secretary of the Treasury, Stuart Levey, has been wandering around Germany threatening businessmen and bankers to cease having any business or financial ties with Iran or face the consequences. As one banker noted: It is “downright blackmail.” Levey threatens economic retaliation against any German business or bank engaging in trade with Iran.
Several German banks and business people have pointed out their country presently does over $5 billion worth of trade with Iran and ending this would force the firing of German workers. Since the US has no appreciable trade with Iran we lose nothing in ending what doesn’t exist.
An important issue being lost in American strong arm tactics is the future hope for peace in the Middle East. If Germany and other European nations develop trade relations with Iran it provides Iranian leaders a stronger incentive to cooperate and compromise. If all trade ceases, the Iranians will find outlets elsewhere and be less inclined to engage in negotiations.