The mouthpiece of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei blasted The Jerusalem Post for its report last week on Iranian dissidents who urged the end of the flourishing German-Iran trade relationship.
Khamenei’s newspaper Kayhan (The Universe) wrote on Saturday that “a Zionist newspaper stated that the Germans ridiculed the opposition of the Islamic Republic because Germany claims to support the rioters but at the same time earns €1 billion from trade with Iran.”
The radical Islamist newspaper uses “Zionist” as a pejorative word and its articles mirror the views of Khamenei who reiterated his long-held position in June 2022 in a speech that "The Zionists have always been a plague, even before establishing the fraudulent Zionist regime.”
Kayhan, whose editor-in-chief is the “representative of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,” according to the New York Times.
Khamenei's paper said, “Citing the data of the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported: In the midst of the repression of the Islamic Republic, Germany had trade with Iran worth more than €1.2 billion.”
The Post article quoted a number of prominent Iranian dissidents in Germany and in the United States.
Kayhan wrote in its article about the Post report, “ According to the Zionist newspaper, in a situation where the Iranian opposition wants to overthrow, Germany remains Iran's first trade partner among European countries, while many Western countries, including Germany, have condemned the repression of protesters in the last three month, including the chancellor of Germany. The German Parliament had also organized a meeting about this. However, it seems that the volume of trade between Western countries and Iran has not decreased in three months.”
Kayhan editorialized in its article on the Post that “It should be noted that a month ago, the capital of Germany hosted a call for anti-revolutionary groups from Iranians living in Europe, but despite the residence of one million two hundred thousand Iranians in Europe, the rally was held with the presence of 35 thousand people, of course, some of them were nationals of some European countries and some He was one of the refugees from different countries (with the promise of providing food and money and tourist tours). It should be noted that the war in Ukraine and the energy and food supply crisis in the world have caused extensive damage to the German economy.”
German-Iranian dissident speaks out
The German-Iranian dissident Sheina Vojoud flatly disputed Kayhan’s account of the October 2022 Berlin demonstration. Vojoud, who is a spokesperson for the Senate of the National Iranian Congress and was present at the Berlin protest, told the Post that 80,000 people participated in the demonstration in Berlin against Iran’s regime.
French (France 24) and German media (Deutsche Welle) reported that 80,000 people attended the anti-Iranian regime protest in Berlin.
Vojoud said there was “no food and no money” issued to the protestors and “People came from all over Europe with their own money, “ adding that Iranian refugees also attended.
The Iranian-American human rights activist Lawdan Bazargan told the Post that "Unfortunately, while kind, the German government's words are diametrically opposed to their actions and gave an excuse to one of the most notorious Iran newspapers to use it to mock Iranian activists abroad. We expect Germany to stop giving us empty promises and instead take action against Iran's Islamic Regime by recalling its Ambassador from Iran and expelling Iran's Ambassador from Germany."
She continued that "Kayhan reported the Jerusalem Post article on the amount of trade between Iran and Germany to mock Iranian activists abroad, but in the process, it was forced to report some truth as well. Articles like the one Mr. Weinthal wrote help spread the truth. Kayhan reported that 35,000 people participated in the anti-Iran regime's protest in Berlin and that most western countries, including the German Chancellor, have condemned the protest crackdowns in Iran. Thus despite the huge censorship of Iran's media, this war between Jerusalem Post and Kayhan helps Iranian hear some of the truth, and I am grateful for that."
The general director of Kayhan is Hossein Shariatmadari. The New York Times wrote in its 2007 article on Kayhan that Shariatmadari “is today feared by many of his own countrymen.”
Kayhan published a front-page editorial in connection with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in April, 2022, that praised the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. The Kayhan article declared that Hitler was "smarter and more courageous" than current European leaders because he "expelled" the Jews from Germany.
Shariatmadari told the New York Times in 2007 that Kayhan serves to counter “ Women who flaunt restrictions on dress, pushing their hijab, or head covering, way back.”
Iran’s regime is currently gripped by nationwide revolts that seek the end of the Islamic Republic in response to the regime’s reported murder of the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for not complying with Hijab regulations.
Kayhan was first published in 1942. The prominent Iranian journalist and public intellectual Amir Taheri served as Kayhan’s executive editor-in-chief from 1972 to 1979.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Kayhan became a hotbed of anti-Western and antisemitic screeds.
Germany’s foreign ministry and its ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, have stayed mum about the federal republic’s robust trade relationship with the Iranian regime.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this article.