The German government has made clear it will not normalize relations with Iran until the Islamic Republic recognizes Israel, and condemned the regime’s “rocket tests and anti-Israel threats.”
Germany on Tuesday reiterated its refusal to normalize relations with Iran until the Islamic Republic recognizes Israel, Benjamin Weinthal reported in The Jerusalem Post.
“There cannot be normalized, complete relations with Iran so long as Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration said in a letter to German parliamentarian Volker Beck, the head of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group. “At the same time, the federal government has an interest in dialogue with Iran’s government over critical topics,” it added.
The letter, written in response to a July parliamentary inquiry, also highlighted Iran’s extensive record of human rights abuses and threatening rhetoric toward Israel.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel are seeking to invite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Berlin later this year, according to a recent report in the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung. Beck, a member of the Green Party, consequently warned Merkel not to become involved in false normalization with the Islamic Republic.
“Critics see Germany as sending mixed messages to the Jewish state” regarding Iran, Weinthal wrote. Despite Berlin’s demand that Iran recognize Israel, Gabriel was among the first western politicians to visit Iran when it reached a nuclear deal with world powers last July. Germany also hosted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif this past June.
In the letter to Beck, the German government conveyed that it told Iran that it should recognize Israel and condemned the regime’s “rocket tests and anti-Israel threats.” Berlin also expressed concern that the hope that Rouhani’s administration would improve human rights domestically “has until now not been fulfilled.” The government specifically noted the high level of executions in Iran and its continued imposition of the death penalty for homosexuality.
Despite its promise not to normalize relations with Iran, German exports to Iran increased to 1.13 billion euros in the first half of 2016, a 15 percent jump compared to the same period the previous year, according to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office.
Beck did not seem mollified by the letter, telling Weinthal that it is apparent to “everyone in government circles that a high-level state visit from Iran is approaching and the only apparent question is whether at the banquet wine will be allowed. I don’t understand why the federal government remains silent about the visit plans and won’t answer simple questions.”
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