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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Open Letter to the German Foreign Minister: Why do you talk to Holocaust deniers, Mr. Steinmeier?

Berlin, February 2, 2016

 
Dear Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier,

Last Wednesday, on January 27, you commemorated the six million European Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany. This Tuesday, barely a week later, you travel to Tehran for foreign policy talks. Ali Khamenei, the religious leader of the regime, has repeatedly called the Shoah a "myth". This year, on January 27, he published a video containing the statement: "Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain". This video depicts Holocaust deniers as persecuted martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression. A Holocaust cartoon contest is announced to be held in July in Iran, which will for the third time award antisemitic cartoons denying the Holocaust. [1]

The denial of the Shoah is no minor whim of the Iranian governance. It is in fact an expression of the centrality of antisemitism for the Iranian regime. The leadership of the Islamic Republic has moved the Holocaust denial to the center of foreign affairs and uses it as a political weapon against the biggest Jewish community in the world: against Israel.

This relation became already obvious in 2006, when the Iranian regime hosted the first Holocaust denial conference which was held in a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his opening speech, the then Iranian foreign minister declared: If "the official version of the Holocaust is called into question", also "the nature and identity of Israel" had to be questioned. [2]

The Iranian leadership repeated this goal of destroying Israel time and again. On November 9th, 2014 Ali Khamenei published an agenda of nine points, in which way Israel could be eliminated. One of these point was to arm the West Bank like Gaza. [3] He celebrated the nuclear deal in September 2015 in predicting, that “there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists." [4] We therefore see no historic chance in the nuclear agreement with Iran, but a great danger.

Dear Mr. Steinmeier, on the memorial day of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp you said: “One cannot draw a line under history.” You also stressed that nobody in Europe can feel safe as long as „Jews, people of different faiths and dissenters” do not feel safe in Europe.

An antisemitic regime like the one in Tehran cannot be a partner of the Federal Republic of Germany. Driven by its antisemitic Islamist ideology, the regime in Tehran supports terrorism in the region. By supporting Islamist militias in Iraq and Syria, the Iranian regime is responsible for the confessional divide and the radicalization of the population in both countries and thus is largely responsible for the rise of the Islamic State. The Iranian support for Assad prevents a peace process in Syria and the Middle East, and is responsible for an escalation of the refugee crisis.

There is no sign of a political moderation under Rohani, in spite of the high hopes in the West. On the contrary: Under Rohani, about thousand executions took place in 2015 [5], which is worse than the terror under president Ahmadinejad. Iran has the highest per capita rate of executions in the world. The Iranian regime suppresses those who oppose the Islamist ideology and terrorizes homosexuals, women, dissidents and dissenters.

We believe it to be of utmost importance for the future of Europe's democracies that dictatorships are not revalued and that antisemitism is outlawed in all its forms. If the Federal Government accepts Islamic antisemitism or acts indifferently toward it, this retroacts on the European societies.

Dear Mr Steinmeier, we therefore ask you to condemn the Iranian Holocaust denial and the antisemitic Holocaust Cartoon contest publicly, sharply and unmistakably. Draw a red line on the arming of Islamist terrorist organizations and support democratic forces in Iran and the region.


Yours sincerely,

Ulrike Becker
Spokesperson STOP THE BOMB

[1] See Twitter: Https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/446928689943420928?ref_src=twsrc and Video: http://english.khamenei.ir/news/3256/Are-the-Dark-Ages-over.


[2] Boris Kalnoy, Die Welt, 2/12/2006, www.welt.de/print-welt/article701882/Konferenz-der-Holocaust-Leugner.html (in German). See also Matthias Küntzel: Iran's Obsession with the Jews, 2/14/2007, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=177

[3] "Why should and how can #Israel be eliminated? Ayatollah Khamenei's answer to 9 key questions", https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/531366667377717248

[4] https://twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/641520641724780544?ref_src=twsrc

[5] www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/human-rights-data/chart-of-executions/1000000564-ihrdc-chart-of-executions-by-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-2015.html