Israeli Embassy in Berlin: End Germany-Iran programs
German politician faces criticism for trip to Tehran; Israeli embassy in Berlin echo the sentiment.
University of Rostock, Germany Photo: Wikimedia Commons
BERLIN – German-Iranian academic programs that seek to circumvent the EU and US
consensus to isolate Tehran’s clerical leadership sparked criticism on Monday
from the Israeli Embassy in Berlin.
“Israel sees the diplomatic effort,
with decisive and effective sanctions as its key component, as the main tool to
stop Iran’s military nuclear program.
Iran, as a country that
persistently strives to eliminate the State of Israel, should not expect to
enjoy the benefits of normal cooperation between civilized countries,” wrote a
spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in an email to The Jerusalem Post.
embassy statement came as a response to the decision of the German Academic
Exchange Program (DAAD) to commence exchange programs with Iran’s education
ministry that involve hundreds of German students in Iran.
The DAAD — a
German organization funded by the government — confirmed to the Post that a
memorandum of agreement was signed on September 5 with the Iranian
Alexandra Schäfer, a spokeswoman for the DAAD, sent the Post
a statement noting that “the official policy of the the land [Iran] is highly
problematic,” but it is vital to keep channels of communication open.
Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, an expert on Iran’s educational system, told the Post that
the “German universities do not understand that with their projects they will
not really reach Iranian society and the people who are thirsty for
freedom...rather the opposite – making the totalitarian dictator
respectable – and that is the real problem.”
Deidre Berger, the head of
the American Jewish Committee office in Berlin, said the DAAD program is
“counterproductive and naïve.” Adding that an exchange dealing with “selected
participants from the Iranian regime will not lead to more democratic structures
Meanwhile, the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) deputy Bijan
Djir-Sarai, who heads the German-Iranian parliamentary group, is slated to
travel to Iran with a number of his fellow deputies.
A spokesman for
Djir-Sarai’s office in Berlin confirmed to the Post a news report in the Iranian
Mehr news outlet stating that a German delegation was planning to visit
Saba Farzan, a German-Iranian member of the FDP and expert on the
human rights situation in Iran, wrote the Post, saying that “Mr. Djir-Sarai
hasn’t learned the lesson of history very well. In this crucial time of
preventing a nuclear weapon in the hands of this regime and to fully support
democracy for Iranians, there is nothing to debate with this cruel and
“Mr. Djir-Sarai should know better than to
organize such a devastating trip as his personal life story is a tragic example
of how inhumane the Islamic Republic is.
Thankfully, Mr. Djir-Sarai has
found many opportunities in Germany to prosper and live freely. Iranians inside
the country longing for liberty deserve nothing less than that. It requires
moral clarity to stand on the right historic side and to isolate this
dictatorship,” Farzan continued.
Several Post calls and email queries to
Djir-Sarai were not immediately returned. A spokeswoman for Green Party deputy
Kerstin Müller told the Post by email that she had canceled her participation in
the trip because of “personal reasons.”
It is unclear if Djir-Sarai is
using the trip to advance his party’s business interests in Iran. Many members
of the FDP have contracts with Iranian companies .
In a separate Iran
visit, a spokeswoman for the European Union parliament told the Post that it is
still “unclear” if the EU plans to send deputies from Brussels to visit Iran
later this week.