U.S. ambassador to 'Post': Tehran mayor should be on US/EU sanctions list

Mayor Pirouz Hanachi of Tehran will meet his counterpart Michael Müller in Berlin.

September 8, 2019 06:30
3 minute read.
Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany

Richard Grenell, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, attends the "Rally for Equal Rights at the United Nations (Protesting Anti-Israeli Bias)" aside of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 18, 2019. (photo credit: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS)

US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, one of America’s most high-profile diplomats, slammed Berlin’s municipal government and the Foreign Ministry for mainstreaming an Iranian mayor who should be sanctioned by the US and EU because of his terrorism activities.

“Rolling out the red carpet in Berlin for the IRGC-affiliated mayor of Tehran [Pirouz Hanachi], who calls for the destruction of Israel and supports pushing gays off tall buildings, is unjustifiable,” Grenell told The Jerusalem Post. “A senior Berlin city official told me that the Foreign Ministry asked the city to host the terrorism-supporting mayor – so I am not sure whose idea it was to welcome the guy. But the IRGC-affiliated mayor should be on the US and EU sanctions list, not on the City of Berlin’s VIP list,” he said.

Amid a rise in anti-Jewish violence in the German capital, Berlin Mayor Michael Müller met with Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi, who has participated in a rally calling for Israel’s destruction, and was a member of the US-sanctioned Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

More than 100 people demonstrated in Berlin on Friday against the German capital’s Mayor Michael Müller for meeting his Tehran counterpart, Pirouz Hanachi, earlier that day.

Iranian dissident Kazem Moussavi shouted at Müller as he was walking away from Berlin’s City Hall: “Long Live Israel, Long live the Iranian opposition!”

Moussavi, from the Iranian Green Party in exile, also said “Down with the Islamic Republic.”

One of the videos showing Moussavi confronting Müller has been viewed more than 17,000 times.

Ulrike Becker, a spokeswoman for Stop the Bomb in Berlin, a group devoted to ending the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, said that “The policy of dialogue with the Iranian regime has clearly failed after more than 30 years. The human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated in recent years. The Revolutionary Guards and Iran-led Hezbollah are threatening Israel and destabilizing and destroying Iran’s neighbors – Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It is time for a democratic alternative. Berlin can make a start here and show that the city seeks and promotes exchange with democratic and liberal forces from Iran.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff said in a series of tweets, “I was dismayed when I heard that the Berlin Senate Chancellery is receiving the mayor of Tehran, Pirouz Hanachi, a former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in Berlin, especially at a time when Iran continues to pursue a destabilizing and hostile policy towards Israel and various Arab states in the region, denying the Holocaust and violating the nuclear deal.

“This undermines the essential message that should be sent to Tehran, namely that Iranian policy is completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”

The IRGC paid convicted Pakistani agent Haidar Syed-Naqfi at least €2,052 from July 2015 through July 2016 to spy on Jewish and pro-Israel figures and institutions in Germany and France. According to German authorities, his actions were “a clear indication of an assassination attempt.”

The American Jewish Committee in Berlin, the Berlin Jewish community and the German Kurdish community have blasted Müller.

Iran’s regime publicly hanged a man based on anti-gay charges in January. Grenell, who is the most senior openly gay official in the Trump administration, is overseeing a campaign for the US administration to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.
Iran’s regime, according to a 2008 British Wikileaks cable, has executed between 4,000-6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s Islamic revolution in 1979.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center considered including Müller on its 2017 top-ten worst outbreaks of antisemitism because of the mayor’s alleged failure to rope in rising Jew-hatred and contemporary antisemitism targeting Israel in Berlin.

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