Iran Brushes Off Germany’s Pro-Israel Overture

YERUSHALAYIM -

Iran made it clear to Germany that trade set to be reopened between the two countries with the lifting of sanctions will not bring any change in its policy toward Israel, The Times of Israel reported on Tuesday.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had indicated to Iranian officials during his current visit to Tehran that the latter would have to cease its genocidal rhetoric if it wants to do business with Germany.

But Tehran bluntly refused.

“We have totally different views from Germany on certain regional issues in the Middle East, and we have explicitly expressed our viewpoints in different negotiations,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said, according to the Fars news agency.

She added that “this is not something new.”

But Afkham emphasized that “the main goal of the German vice chancellor’s visit to Iran is a discussion of the prospects of mutual cooperation. We quite naturally have our own concerns and views on existing threats, including the Zionist regime’s threats and the roots of the crises in the region.”

Gabriel did not back down on the proposed linkage to Israel, though. He warned that obstacles still remained that could affect the pace of German investment in Iran.

“Issues of human rights, civil rights of citizens and other individuals — and especially the security of Israel — are all of great significance for Germany,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gabriel’s trip became a political sensation back in Germany, where he was subjected to biting criticism from members of his social democratic party and NGOs, according to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday night.

Kevin Kühnert, of the Social Democrats, asked rhetorically, “Did Germany do enough in the negotiations to eliminate the possibility of an Iranian atomic program or were economic interests so large that they have priority?”

“Under Rouhani more people were executed than under [former president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. I don’t want to see pictures in which people are hanged from German cranes. Under these premises, I do not want to restart trade with this land,” Kühnert said.