Swiss Sign Multi-Billion Dollar Deal with Iran

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Iranian President Mahmoud Abbas posed for the press with Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey after signing a multi-million dollar gas deal between the two countries.

Israel bemoaned the deal.

"Switzerland and the entire international community are aware of the dangers from Iran," said Rafi Barak, deputy director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Western European Department, calling Calmy-Rey's visit to Iran an "unfriendly" act toward Israel.

"Israel expects Switzerland to enlist in the international efforts on this matter," he said.

Meanwhile, just after newly appointed Swiss ambassador Walter Haffner returned from submitting his credentials to Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Defense Ministry spoke with him about his country's dealings with Iran.

Barak told the Swiss ambassador this was hardly the time to bolster the Islamic republic, on the heels of a third round of sanctions by the UN Security Council.

Upon her return to Bern, Calmy-Rey told reporters that her country didn't need permission from the US to advance its strategic interests nor were they concerned about the Jewish community's reaction to the deal.

"Switzerland is an independent country that has its own strategic interests to defend," Calmy-Rey said, adding that her trip to Teheran was a diplomatic and economic success.

"How does a country that places human rights so high on its banner close its eye and embrace Ahmadinejad?" an Israeli diplomat asked.

"This sends the totally wrong message," he said.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, The Associated Press

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