Wiesenthal Center Urges Prime Minister-Elect Berlusconi’s Intervention To Cancel Deal Bringing Iranian Gas To Italy Via Switzerland

April 17, 2008


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging Italian Prime Minister-Elect Silvio Berlusconi to personally intervene to cancel a reported deal that would bring billions of Euros of Iranian gas to Italy by way of Switzerland.

At their meeting Tuesday in Bern with Swiss State Secretary, Michael Ambuhl, Center officials were told that an $18 Billion deal bringing Iranian gas to Switzerland was justified, in part, because it would give the Swiss alternative sources of energy other than Russia. However, yesterday’s Swiss media reports indicate that “not one molecule” of Iranian gas would stay in Switzerland and that the bulk would reach Italy.

A letter to the Prime Minister-Elect from Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, read in part, “Mr. Prime Minister we congratulate you on your re-election. We remember your swift action that helped pave the way for the successful prosecution of the infamous Nazi War Criminal, Eric Priebke.

Now we are turning to you on another crucial matter of mutual concern. At this pivotal time in history, we know you share the concerns of other world leaders at the specter of a nuclear Iran. Yesterday, we met with senior Swiss officials to urge them to cancel an 18 billion dollar gas deal with the Iranian government. This ill-conceived deal would only bolster the Iranian regime and weaken the international community’s efforts to force Tehran to stop its nuclear program. 

Today, Swiss media reports indicate “that not one molecule” of Iranian gas will stay in Switzerland and that Italy would be the prime recipient. This regime was dangerous enough before this deal, but if it stands, it will only strengthen Iranian resolve and empower them to continue to torpedo peace efforts in the Middle East through their terrorist proxies.  We urge your personal intervention to ensure that Italy in no way, however indirectly, abets Switzerland in empowering Iran.

For more information, contact the Center's Public Relations department, 310-553-9036.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.