With embargoes on Iranian gas and oil firmly in place, the European Union seems determined to tighten a net of sanctions around Iran, as even longtime critics of Europe's trade relations with Iran acknowledge.
A strike by Israeli Foreign Ministry employees that caused the cancellation of visits by foreign delegations has ended. An agreement reached Monday means that a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and several ministers to attend the annual joint Israel-Germany Cabinet session will go ahead this week as scheduled, according to reports. As part of the three-year agreement, the diplomats will receive a salary increase, a bonus package and a special bonus for diplomats serving abroad, many of whom have said they could not afford to live in their host countries on meager salaries. A demand for outside evaluation for major promotions will be addressed outside of the salary dispute, according to reports.
A strike by Israeli Foreign Ministry employees has broadened, halting defense-related exports and freezing assistance for Israelis abroad. The strike, which began several weeks ago and has added sanctions on a weekly and now daily basis, has included refusing to cooperate with other ministries such as the Prime Minister's Office, the Mossad and the army; disrupting diplomatic mail service; and refusing to cooperate on visits of dignitaries and state delegations. Earlier this month, a delegation of 500 that included business leaders and was led by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had to be canceled due to a lack of cooperation from Foreign Ministry personnel. A visit scheduled for next month by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and several of her Cabinet ministers to attend the annual joint Israel-Germany Cabinet session is in danger of cancellation.