During his visit to Berlin, Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen used few words to describe the drama that has developed around the most important international trouble spot alongside the Ukraine war - the Iran nuclear program. "Speaking in Germany, I want to say to you: This is the moment to take steps to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," Cohen said, referring to reports that Iran is dangerously close to being able to build the bomb.
When asked by a journalist what steps Cohen expects from Germany, among others, the minister replied: “There are two options. The first: the snap-back (the official suspension of the 2015 nuclear deal; ed.) and the return to comprehensive sanctions. The second: the military option, which is also on the table.”
Germany, as one of the signatory states to the nuclear agreement, would have to participate in a snap-back. Nobody believes that Berlin itself could take military action to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb. Such airstrikes would be a challenge for Israel, even with American support. Nevertheless, a military escalation would have significant implications that Berlin must deal with today.
Military action against Iran is likely to result in retaliation from militias allied with Tehran in other Middle Eastern countries. New migration movements, an increased threat of terrorism in Europe and disruptions to the global energy supply and trade routes would also affect Germany.
When airstrikes turn into an ongoing conflict, more questions arise. Because then the partners of the West and Germany would be at war in the region, not just Israel, but at least indirectly also the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which would at least have to grant Israel overflight rights.
Israel's security could be seriously threatened by rocket attacks by Iran and its Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. Then Berlin will have to ask itself whether it is staying out of the conflict in accordance with the foreign policy principles of the time before the Ukraine war. Or whether, based on recent experience, it is actively engaged to support its partners in dealing with common threats.