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Sunday, March 03, 2024

Open Letter to Klaus Ernst

Member of Parliament for "DIE LINKE"


Berlin, September 12, 2019

Dear Klaus Ernst,

you are a speaker at the “8th Banking and Business Forum Iran Europe”, which is organized by the Maleki Group and scheduled to take place in Berlin during 19 and 20 September.

We condemn this event, which aims not only to circumvent U.S. sanctions, but also to normalize relations with a criminal and inhumane regime.

We ask you to cancel your participation in the forum.

You are a former trade union representative, your website states that you support “fair wages and social justice.” We appreciate this commitment very much, but ask ourselves: where is your solidarity with the workers’ protests in Iran? How can you participate in a lobbying event for business with Iran? A business that since the signing of the JCPOA in 2015 has mainly benefited the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ companies, which are responsible for the nuclear and missile programs, the suppression of dissidents and women and help the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to wage a bloody war against his own people.

You are certainly aware of the situation of human rights in Iran. Here are just some reports from the last days: 

  • September 7, 2019: The Telegram channel of “Haft Tappeh” sugar factory in Shush announces that several labor activists organizing strikes to demand unpaid wages have been sentenced to long-term imprisonment. The activists Sepideh Qoliyan, Amirhossein Mohammadifard, Asal Mohammadi, Sanaz Allahyari and Amir Amirgholi were given prison terms of 18 years or more.

  • September 4, 2019: According to reports, more than 21 labor activists were sentenced to flogging in August. For example, Atefeh Rangiz has been sentenced to imprisonment for eleven years in addition to 74 lashes for participating in a Labor Day demonstration on May 1.

  • September 3, 2019: The campaign “My Stealthy Freedom” announces that six women in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 109 years of imprisonment for failing to comply with the obligation of veiling. Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi have to go to prison for 16 years, Mojgan Keshavarz for 23 and Saba Kordasfshari for 24 years.

  • August 24, 2019: Journalist and women's rights activist Marzieh Amiri is sentenced to over ten years of imprisonment and 148 lashes for attending a Labor Day rally with trade unionists.


These are just a few, arbitrarily selected examples of the last days. The absurdly high sentences show the inhumane character of the Iranian regime, where human rights and especially women's rights are trampled under foot. Amnesty International called the year 2018 the "Year of Shame" in Iran. At least 26 demonstrators were shot and hundreds sentenced to prison and flogging. 7,000 people were arrested, nine of them were killed in prison under unclear circumstances.

We do not know exactly how you justify attending this lobbying event. As you know, the German export boom is exacerbating social inequality in Germany.

You may argue that the Iran business could contribute to "change through trade and relaxation". This bon mot has largely disappeared from the political discourse, because it became too obvious that the idea has failed. Only in economic circles does it still justify the business.

The human rights situation has worsened under Rohani. In addition, it has been proven that, above all, the economic empire of the Revolutionary Guards and the regime-controlled, tax-exempt religious foundations profited from the cessation of sanctions - not the private sector. At the beginning of 2017, the Reuters news agency presented a study showing that out of just under 110 financial statements completed after the nuclear deal in July 2015, only 17 went to private companies. On the other hand, 90 deals totaling at least $ 80 billion were contracted with companies owned or controlled by Iranian state authorities. 

In other words, the resurgence of trade after the signing of the JCPOA benefited, almost without exception, the authoritarian state, or the Revolutionary Guards, who are responsible for both the nuclear and missile program and repression within Iran. Trade with Iran neither leads to change in the interior, nor to stability and security in the region, but mainly fills the purses of the Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian regime, based on human rights abuses, hatred of Israel and support for terrorists, must not be rewarded by further rapprochement.

Cancel your participation in the Iran Lobby Event on September 19th! 

Those members of the opposition who are fighting for democratic change in Iran and in exile need your solidarity in the fight against the criminal regime, which is trampling on the rights of its own people.


Ulrike Becker and Fathiyeh Naghibzadeh

STOP THE BOMB campaign