German parliament slams Ahmadinejad remarks
16 December 2005, BERLIN - All six parties in the German Bundestag parliament backed a joint resolution passed Friday condemning anti-Semitic remarks by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
16 December 2005
BERLIN - All six parties in the German Bundestag parliament backed a joint resolution passed Friday condemning anti-Semitic remarks by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
Germany, which is still catching and punishing people for taking part in the Holocaust and has paid huge reparations to Israel, was outraged this week when Ahmadinejad claimed the genocide was "a fairy tale" and that Israel should be relocated to Europe or America.
The parliamentary resolution "utterly" rejected his remarks and declared Germany's complete support for Israel's existence.
Erika Steinbach, a Christian Democrat and leader of the ethnic Germans expelled from eastern Europe after the Second World War, said the Iranian leader's idea that Israelis should be driven out to Europe or Canada was utterly appalling and inhuman.
The resolution said his remarks revealed attitudes that were incompatible with the basic norms of the international community. It was backed by the Christian Democrats, their CSU partner, the Social Democrats, Free Democrats, Left Party and Greens.
Volker Beck, the Green whip in the parliament, called for Berlin to review its economic and diplomatic relations with Iran so as to exert pressure for Tehran to act like a "normal member" of the international community.
Earlier, a deputy foreign minister told a radio station Friday that he could not rule out trade sanctions against Iran, though he could not see them coming at the moment.
Gernot Erler, state minister at the Foreign Office, was being interviewed on Deutschlandfunk radio about Germany's response to this week's Holocaust denial by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
Asked if there might be a trade embargo, he said: "At the moment it's not evident what would trigger that."
He said that if there were to be a choice between Israel's "right to exist" in safety and Germany's trade interests, "it's obvious what one would have to choose".
Germany's commitment to Israel is a long-term cornerstone of German foreign policy, analysts say.
Erler said suspending or breaking off diplomatic relations with Iran would create problems, since the objective of persuading Iran not to refine weapons-grade plutonium would become even more distant.
He appealed for Arab nations to dissociate themselves from Ahmadinejad's views. He said it was worrying that Arab nations were largely silent, "even those that recognized Israel's right to exist".
Subject: German news