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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Joint Protest declaration against the Iran trip of Olaf Lies, Minister of Economics in Lower Saxony

No deals with the Iranian regime!

Berlin / Hanover, 04.10.2015

Olaf Lies, Minister for Economics in Lower Saxony, is in Iran with a delegation of 70 members from October 2-7. After the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, entrepreneurs in Lower Saxony see a multibillion-dollar market in Iran, as do German entrepreneurs all over Germany, in which they want to participate.

However, this also means they are doing business with a fundamentalist mullah regime with a horrendous human rights record, where opponents are executed and which supports Islamist terrorist groups.

We don’t want this trip to pass without comment and hope, even if this seems to be futile, that at least once democracy and human rights will outweigh economic interests.

The human rights situation in Iran is catastrophic. The sharia law leads to cruel judgments, amputations and stonings. Members of religious and ethnic minorities, homosexuals, political opponents and women are subject to draconian punishments. The death penalty is common. Amnesty International just recently criticized the execution of 700 people in the first half of this year, a number almost as high as the total number of executions in the entire previous year. The illusion that President Rohani could pursue a more moderate policy is therefore long gone. There are also executions for premarital sex or "apostasy“.

Particularly terrible is the situation for gay people, who live in constant fear in the Iranian theocracy. They can only act out their love in secret, otherwise they are threatened with execution. It seems to be absurd that the government of Lower Saxony just recently voted in favor of same-sex marriages in the German Federal Assembly. While strengthening the rights of homosexual people here, the government elsewhere supports business with a regime that harasses and kills homosexuals.

We in Germany have also a particular responsibility towards the State of Israel and all Jewish people and should have learned from history. Instead of that, 70 years after the end of the Shoah, business is organized with a regime that makes no secret out of its anti-Semitic extermination fantasies. The suggestion of Sigmar Gabriel, German Minister for Economics, that Iran should recognize the state of Israel was immediately rejected by Ayatollah Khamenei. The religious leader just recently threatened Israel openly with destruction and said the country would not survive the next 25 years. As a result of the new economic cooperation, funds will flow to a country which supports Islamist terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

In spite of all that, a letter of the Ministry of Economics only mentions that Iran offers great opportunities for the economy in Lower Saxony, especially in key areas such as agriculture or mechanical engineering. To be clear: This means that homosexuals might be dangling from cranes exported to Iran from Lower Saxony soon.

Lower Saxony's Economics Minister Olaf Lies recently found clear words for the German Volkswagen concern, when he called the behavior of those responsible for the emissions scandal "criminal". We wish he would criticize the actions of the Iranian regime in this way as well.

To hope that "contacts rather than conflict" or trade could bring change like Sigmar Gabriel does, is an illusion. When the Iranians were protesting against the regime in 2009 after the presidential elections, German companies delivered eavesdropping equipment for the crackdown of the opposition by the Iranian regime.

We therefore demand:
No deals with Islamists! Human rights before profits!

A joint declaration of

  • Young Socialists Lower Saxony
  • Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society Hanover
  • German-Israeli Society Hannover
  • German-Israeli Society Oldenburg