The president of Germany Frank Walter-Steinmeier sent a congratulatory telegram to Iran's mullah regime in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in the name of federal republic's citizens.
Germany's largest paper Bild reported on Wednesday "On the 40th anniversary of that day, friendly greetings from Berlin arrived in Tehran by telegram: the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (63), sends 'Congratulations' on the occasion of the national holiday, 'also in the name of my compatriots."'
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the center "condemns German President’s congratulations to the most dangerous regime in the world, who are religious bigots, who hang Gays, and threaten genocide against Israel--home to the largest Jewish community in the world. When will he condemn their Holocaust denial?"
The congratulatory note to a regime that seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and the United States of America has raised eyebrows and unleashed criticism on social media. The prominent German-Iranian dissident and public intellectual Nasrin Amirsedghi wrote on her Twitter feed that "Steinmeier congratulates the Terror-Mullahs."
Bild wrote "Mass executions and torture; the brutal persecution of women, minorities, and the opposition; the installation of an Islamist terror state that threatens to annihilate Israel, that covers the Middle East with its militias, and that denies the Holocaust. All of this started in Iran on 11 February, 1979, the day of the 'Islamic Revolution,' when the mullahs seized power in Tehran."
Steinmeier, who as then-foreign minister previously allowed former Iranian deputy foreign minister Muhammad Javad Ardashir Larijani, in 2008, to call for Israel's destruction and deny the Holocaust at a German foreign ministry event near Berlin's Holocaust memorial, told Iran's president Hassan Rouhani that Germany is doing “everything in its power to guarantee the maintenance and continued implementation of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)."
The Bild article by Antje Schippmann noted "There is not a word of criticism concerning Tehran’s murderous attacks in Europe or its billions for financing terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah." The article said: "Instead, the telegram praises the bilateral relations and promises to 'intensely maintain' the dialogue. Only together, is it possible to 'overcome the crises and conflicts."' wrote the president, who is a member of Germany's social democratic party.
Schippmann wrote: To conclude, he [Steinmeier] encouraged the regime to also listen to the critical voices in your country. "A suggestion that seems absurd given the thousands of political detainees in torture prisons, including human rights lawyers, journalists, and environmental activists," she wrote.
The Free Democratic foreign policy Frank Müller-Rosentritt told the paper that Steinmeier's praise for the Iranian regime that "For our friends in Israel, who are subject to Iran’s permanent threats of annihilation, this must feel like a slap in the face.“
Germany's social democratic foreign minister Heiko Maas appeared in a photograph shaking hands with Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif at the weekend Munich Security conference.
The prominent Palestinian-Israeli psychologist and author Ahmad Mansour, who works to combat radical Islam and antisemitism in Germany, wrote on his Twitter feed that "the picture confirms my impression that politics [in Germany] does not take the fight against Antisemitism seriously."
Last week, Germany's deputy foreign minister, Niels Annen, celebrated Iran's revolution in the Iranian embassy Berlin. He told Deutsche Welle that he has "no regrets" about his participation in the celebration. In January, the Post reported that Iran's regime hanged a man based on an anti-gay charge.
According to Bild, the President’s Press Office said congratulating Iran's regime for its Islamic revolution is “the longstanding state practice of the Federal Republic of Germany."