The German Foreign Ministry sent representatives to Iran’s Embassy in Berlin to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran – a regime that frequently urges the destruction of the Jewish state and spreads Holocaust denial.
Mass circulation daily Bild reported on Tuesday that Foreign Ministry State Minister Niels Annen, from the Social Democratic Party, and an official from the Iran desk at the ministry, attended the pro-mullah regime event.
The foreign policy spokesman of the Free Democratic Party in the Bundestag, Bijan Djir-Sarai told Bild, “the fact that a representative of the federal government participates in celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of the Iranian Embassy is embarrassing.” He added that “A certain distance would have been helpful here. It is a mystery to me which message the federal government wanted to send with this performance. “
In response to a Jerusalem Post press query to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas regarding his ministry’s presence at the pro-Iran regime celebration, a spokesperson said the ministry said it sent officials to the embassy to keep “dialogue channels” open. Maas, a member of the SDP, claims he went into politics “because of Auschwitz.”
German Jews accuse Maas of failing to internalize the lesson of the Holocaust with his robust support of Iran’s regime.
Iran’s regime is the leading international state-sponsor of terrorism, according to the US Department of State. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration, which has declared Israel’s security to be “non-negotiable,” refuses to join US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The timing of Annen’s visit coincides with Iranian Brig.-Gen. Yadollah Javani’s comments on Israel regarding an American attack on Iran.
“But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” he told Iran’s state-controlled IRNA news agency.
According to the Foreign Ministry statement to the Post, Annen did not criticize Iran’s genocidal antisemitic threats against Israel at the celebration. Annen has faced criticism in Germany and in the US for his anti-Americanism.
Maas also opted not to attend the US-led conference in Warsaw this week, meant to blunt Iranian jingoism. He sent Annen instead, who is known as an energetic defender of the controversial Iran nuclear deal.
German Foreign Ministry officials have oft participated in events calling for the destruction of Israel. In 2017, former foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, an SDP member, welcomed an Iranian religious leader who called for the elimination of Israel at the annual al-Quds rally in Berlin.
In 2008, Gabriel’s SDP colleague and then-foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is now president, sponsored an event at the Foreign Ministry to address “common solutions” in the Middle East. Iran’s former deputy foreign minister, Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani, called at the event for the “Zionist project” to be “canceled” and said that Israel “has failed miserably and has only caused terrible damage to the region.” Larijani denied the Holocaust at the event.
Then-German ambassador to Iran Herbert Honsowitz violated EU guidelines in 2008 by allowing a military attaché to attend an anti-Israel military parade in Tehran, according to a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry’s Iran section. “Israel must be wiped off the map” was one of the slogans painted on Shihab-3 missiles featured at the event in Tehran.
Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.