Germany's Iran Policy : beyond Critical Dialogue
Gerschoffer, Mark A.
Wirtz, James J.
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Germany and the United States differ in their approach to Iran. While the United States seeks to contain Iran through diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions, Germany prefers to influence Iran though diplomatic engagement and economic cooperation. German foreign policy posits that its policy of constructive engagement is the most effective way to influence another country's behavior. This notion has its origins in the Cold War. In 1963, the idea of a "policy of small steps" leading to "change through rapprochement" inspired the policy of Ostpolitik. The basic principles of Ostpolitik were continued from 1969 through the end of the Cold War. It is widely believed in Germany that the end of the Cold War and the unification of Germany were due not to the success of containment, but to detente and Ostpolitik. Given this policy perspective, Germany considers the political and economic costs of sanctions to be unacceptably high. In addition to the loss to commercial interests, sanctions would affect Germany's overall credibility as a trading state. Moreover, political demands which might be suspect because of Germany's past are translated into more respectable economic demands. Economic sanctions would limit Germany's ability to pursue its political objectives
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