Seyran Ates, co-founder of the liberal Ibn Ruschd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin, on Sunday sharply criticized German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas for his photograph with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the Munich Security Conference.Ates, a female Imam who is a champion of women rights and a campaigner against antisemitism in Germany, asked in her tweet above a German Foreign Ministry post of photograph of Maas and Zarif: “Serious question: Does the SPD [Social Democratic Party] have an antisemitism problem?”
Maas, a member of the Social Democratic Party, has faced intense criticism for his alleged appeasement toward Iran’s clerical regime.Ates was born in Istanbul in 1963, and has lived in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1969.The Imam reacted to a Saturday tweet from the German Foreign Ministry, stating, “Preserving the JCPOA remains our objective, FM Heiko Maas underlined in conversation with his Iranian counterpart [Zarif]. But to achieve this we need constructive behavior from Iran. By de-escalation in the region Iran can also contribute to building trust.”The Foreign Ministry on Maas’s watch has faced allegations of stoking Jew-hatred. Germany’s largest paper Bild accused last year the Social Democratic Party Deputy Foreign Minister Niels Annen of “making antisemitism socially respectable” in Germany. Annen participated in a celebration of Iran’s revolution last year at Tehran’s embassy in Berlin.The United States government classified Iran’s regime as the worst state-sponsor of terrorism, and sanctioned Zarif for this. The CEO of the US-based Anti-Defamation League told a congressional hearing that the mullah regime is the top state-sponsor of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.
The Jerusalem Post learned in early February from Foreign Ministry sources that “The usual practice in diplomatic relations also includes the celebration of national holidays in the other country. As the Federal Republic of Germany continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Iran, this also applies to the coming national holiday.”US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell urged the German Foreign Ministry not to honor again Iran’s regime this February. “Germany has a moral responsibility to say to Iran very firmly and clearly that it is unacceptable to deny basic human rights to your people, or kill protesters in the streets or push gay people off buildings. Celebrating the regime’s ongoing existence sends the opposite message.”Writing last week in the online Jewish magazine Tablet in an article titled “Germany Can’t Stop Loving Iran,” German political scientist Matthias Küntzel noted that “On January 15, 2020, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas explained how he sees this difference in the Bundestag: ‘We rely on reasonable diplomacy instead of maximum pressure’ like the United States does. Maas forgot to add that Germany has no other choice. Germany is an economic superpower but a military dwarf. As soon as there is a threat of military action, Germany is no longer relevant.”Küntzel added that “Maas, however, presents this shortcoming as a moral triumph: The Iran nuclear deal is held up as the best example of the correctness of the German insistence that changes can only be achieved through dialogue. Little thought, however, is given to what exactly 40 years of ‘dialogue with Tehran’ have actually achieved.”Maas said he went into politics “because of Auschwitz.” Last year, associate dean of the human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Post: “With all due respect, it is time for the German foreign minister to drop his assertion that it was the lessons of Auschwitz that propelled him into public life. He clearly has not applied any of the lessons to the current situation. Instead of weakening the tyrannical, genocidal regime in Tehran, he is doing everything to strengthen Iran.”