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German Green Party head high-fives Iran’s envoy
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
02/11/2013
Claudia Roth under fire for warmly greeting Reza Sheikh Attar, whom Iranian Kurdish dissidents accuse of massacring Kurds.
 
BERLIN – Claudia Roth, chairwoman of the large Green Party in Germany, is facing a storm of criticism from media outlets, Iranian dissidents and pro-Israel advocates because she greeted Iran’s ambassador to Germany euphorically last week at the Munich security conference.

Roth’s high five, an American form of praise or encouragement, was caught on video. She used it to greet Iranian ambassador Reza Sheikh Attar, whom Iranian Kurdish dissidents accuse of massacring Kurds during his tenure as governor of the Kurdistan and West Azerbaijan provinces between 1980 and 1985.



Roth’s pro-Iranian behavior prompted Germany’s largest daily paper, Bild, to dub her “Loser of the Day,” on its front page because of her action. This category is reserved for people who engage in shameless, criminal, or embarrassing conduct.

Henryk M. Broder, a popular columnist for the daily Die Welt, said Roth belongs “in the hall of shame of politics” for her high five.

Nasrin Amirsedghi, a prominent Iranian- German intellecutal who has written about human rights in the Islamic Republic, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “It is an open secret that the Green Party lobbies intensively for the mullahs in Germany.”

She added that a “high five normally serves as an the expression of satisfaction about success. And [the Green Party] has contributed greatly to the success of keeping an inhumane system going in Iran since 1979.”

Roth has long been a controversial figure in Germany because of her alleged appeasement policies toward Iran’s clerical rulers.

In 2010, she visited Iran and met with the Larijani brothers, Ali and Mohammed.

Ali Larajani, president of Iran’s parliament, engaged in a form of Holocaust denial at the Munich security conference in 2009, according to “Spiegel” online. His brother, Mohammed Javad Larijani, is head of the judicial human rights council and has defended the stoning of women.

During Roth’s visit to Iran she donned a head scarf and refused to criticize Iran’s human rights violations, including the government’s calls for the destruction of Israel and denial of the Holocaust.

Speaking at the second Israel congress event, the head of Germany’s central council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, said: “Should one recall the picture in which we saw Claudia Roth from the Green party, who in Germany so passionately fights for freedom and women’s rights, wear a headscarf there, submissive before the Mullahs, one can only shake one’s head.”

The German-language website Free Iran Now posted the video of Roth and Attar, which led to fierce criticism in the bloggosphere and on Twitter, of Roth and the Greens.

Sacha Stawski, the head of the pro-Israel NGO Honestly Concerned, told the Post on Sunday, “The latest high five only fits in too well with the appeasement and double standard, which is all too common among parliamentarians, when it comes to Iran.”

He added, “Instead of leveraging Germany’s economic and political strength, showing a clear distance and a cold shoulder to a regime which is denying the Holocaust and threatening the existence of the Jewish state, if not world peace – parliamentarians succumb to silly excuses and dumbfounded explanations for what everyone clearly knows as a gesture of friendship and closeness.”

The Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that a spokesman for Roth said she was “completely surprised by the unexpected gesture from Iran’s ambassador, and reciprocated with a short touch of the hand.”

Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy and a leading authority on German-Iranian relations, told the Post on Sunday, “the Greens must explain their relationship to the inhumane regime and say openly how they, in fact, stand to democracy, the USA, and Israel.”

He added that the video shows clearly how Roth crossed the line into appeasement toward a totalitarian dictator.

“Roth proved with her false pro-Iranian policies” that she is likely deeply anchored in appeasement.

Stawski said, “There was a time when the Green Party still stood for something. What is left of that one can only speculate.”

He said this helps to explain why so-called human rights experts like Roth “continue to follow a similar path of appeasement when it comes to Hezbollah.

Instead of advocating that this group be added to the European Union’s list of terror organizations, they continue to believe in the illusion that dialogue is going to contain these terrorists.”
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