Germany calls Iran death sentence for American unacceptable
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle Monday said a death sentence reportedly handed down in Iran to a US-Iranian man accused of spying for the United States "in no way acceptable".
Westerwelle said the ruling, which has further inflamed US-Iranian tensions in the face of Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme, appeared to mark a further step toward international isolation.
"It is too early to judge the ruling as a whole... but based on what we know I can only say: the verdict is in no way acceptable in terms of the sentence and the opinion issued by the court," Westerwelle, who was wrapping up a North African tour in Tunisia, told reporters.
"It is alarming and also disheartening that Iran is moving further away from the international community and international standards on the rule of law."
Media reports said Monday that an Iranian judge issued the death sentence against Amir Mirzai Hekmati, a 28-year-old former Marine born in the United States to an Iranian family "for cooperating with a hostile nation, membership of the CIA and trying to implicate Iran in terrorism".
Germany is working with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to try to persuade Iran to abandon sensitive nuclear work.
While in Tunis, Westerwelle and his counterpart Rafik Abdessalem signed a pact for a "transformation partnership" under which Germany will provide 32 million euros ($41 million) for education and job training and a 60-million-euro debt swap to help it pursue democratic reforms.
Westerwelle said Tunisia, where the Arab Spring uprisings still sweeping across the region began, could serve as a model.
The regime of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled by mass protests on January 14 last year while Tunisia's new government headed by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party was sworn in on December 24.
© 2012 AFP