Iran leaders snub German vice chancellor over call to recognize Israel


Foreign minister, parliament speaker cancel Tehran meetings with Sigmar Gabriel after he says full normalization will hinge on recognition of Jewish state

Iran’s foreign minister and parliament speaker have called off meetings with Germany’s vice chancellor over his demand that the Islamic Republic recognize Israel as a precondition for full normalization of ties between Berlin and Tehran, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Sigmar Gabriel, who also serves as economy minister, arrived in Tehran on Sunday as part of Germany’s efforts to renew business ties with the Islamic Republic following the last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that eased international sanctions in exchange for curbs to Tehran’s nuclear program.

Ahead of the visit, Gabriel told Der Spiegel that Germany could not move ahead with full normalization of ties until the Iranian regime accepted Israel’s right to exist.

According to the Fars News Agency, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani subsequently snubbed Gabriel, who was in the Islamic Republic for two days with some 120 business representatives and dozens of journalists. Meetings between the Iranian politicians and Gabriel were canceled, the report said.

Gabriel met with other senior Iranian officials during his two-day trip, including the economy minister.

German vice chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel attends a German-Iranian Joint Economic Commission (GWK) meeting in Tehran on October 3, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE)
German vice chancellor, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel attends a German-Iranian Joint Economic Commission (GWK) meeting in Tehran on October 3, 2016 (AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE)

An Iranian government spokesperson was quoted by the report as saying that Gabriel told him his remarks regarding Israel were misconstrued.

“When Gabriel came to Iran, I asked him why he has said such a thing while he is one of the pioneering officials who came to Iran after the nuclear deal? He clearly said that they (the media) had distorted his comments. He said that he has come to Iran now without any precondition and that they respect Iran’s views,” said Mohammad Baqer Nobakht.

The spokesperson reiterated that Tehran will never recognize Israel, and said “no country can set a precondition for us. We live with our beliefs.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s judiciary chief on Tuesday said that given the power to do so, he would have banned Gabriel from visiting the country altogether over his remarks.

“The German economy minister has made incorrect and illogical comments and said that if Iran wants to open way for trade interactions, it should recognize Israel. Apparently, he is asleep and doesn’t know that Iran has tolerated abundant pressures for the sake of its beliefs for over 30 years to resist against such demands,” said Iran’s judiciary chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani, according to the Fars News Agency.

“Were I in the place of the government and the foreign minister, I would not allow this minister to visit Iran,” he added.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) holds a press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on February 2, 2016, in Tehran.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) holds a press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on February 2, 2016, in Tehran.

Iran last week rejected outright the demand that it recognize Israel as a precondition for full diplomatic ties.

“Ties between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Germany are based on mutual respect and interests, and no precondition would be acceptable in this regard,” Bahram Qasemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said on Saturday, according to the official Iranian news outlet Press TV.

“The Islamic Republic considers defending the rights of the people of Palestine to be a fixed plank of its foreign policy and will never and under no circumstances forsake the Palestinian cause,” Qasemi said.

Gabriel was among the first Western leaders to lead a delegation to Tehran following the removal of key nuclear-related sanctions in January. Germany seeks to reclaim its former position as one of Iran’s major trading partners, but has long criticized the regime for its virulent anti-Israel stance, regime-backed Holocaust denial conferences, and frequent calls for Israel’s destruction.

Gabriel acknowledged on Monday that “there are differences between our countries.”

“There are many points that connect us, and some points that separate us. In foreign policy we have a different point of view, especially regarding the difficult conflict in Syria. We should talk about this with respect for each other,” he said.

He added that Germany supports Iran’s desire to join the World Trade Organization.

Trade between the two countries — which was 2.4 billion euros last year ($2.7 billion) — grew by 15 percent in the first half of 2016.

  1. #1 by rehmat1 on 10/05/2016 - 3:49 am

    When Sigmar Gabriel visited Tehran last year – he was slammed by Netanyahu and several Jewish groups for being betraying Israel and Jews.

    Iran, under King Reza Shah, was the first Muslim nation to recognize the Zionist entity in 1949 followed by Kemalist Turkey. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Israeli ambassador was ordered to leave the country along with entire Israeli staff. In 1981, Tehran even offered keys to Israel’s embassy building to visiting PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, who refused the offer fearing wrath of pro-West Arab rulers.

    On April 3, 2015, CNN reported Netanyahu demanding that Obama should not sign the nuclear deal with Iran until it includes a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

    Tehran has never denied Israel’s right to exist – but it wants the Zionist regime to be eliminated forever. In fact, it’s war-criminal Zionist Jew Henry Kissinger who predicted in 2012 that Israel has only 10 years to exist.

    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, on the other hand, claims: Defending Palestine is defending Islam.

    Germany under Chancellor Angela Markel has become Europe’s greatest friend of Israel. Bonn has paid $93 billion to the so-called ‘Holocaust survivors’ since the 1950s – and has sold four nuclear-armed submarines to the Zionist entity. In 2008, Markel in her address to Israeli Knesset, said: Israel’s security is part of the German national interest.

  2. #2 by spring62 on 10/05/2016 - 3:49 am

    Israel, Israel and Israel…over and over again. The world is sick and tired of Israel’s sick comments and ridiculous demands. Lets help them to finish the “Chinese Wall” and deport every single Jew to their “mother Land” . Seal the gates and let them root.

  3. #3 by FRÉMAUX SOORMALLY on 10/05/2016 - 2:21 pm

    Adolf Hitler was bad for Germany, and Israel is GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD for Germany! Oy Veh! Shalom!

  4. #4 by Isaac on 10/05/2016 - 6:52 pm

    Israel is sucking the wealth of Germany. It is Israel cash cow. No one should recognize Israel as a State due to the illegality of its creation. It was created on theft, destruction, genocide, lies, deception etc,, Its the only country in the whole world that does not have defined borders, nor a constitution,or common language, etc,, and their “Democracy” is only for the Jews, not for any one else. Its the most racist entity in the world.

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