Berlin, Jul. 20 – A diplomatic spat
between Tehran and Berlin over the new ultra-conservative
President-elect’s alleged involvement in terrorism became more acrimonious on
Wednesday, as Berlin responded to the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s
charges that it was playing a role “in a Zionist conspiracy against the
Islamic Republic of Iran”.
“Such a statement comes from a country where human rights are constantly
violated, where women are publicly flogged after dubious sentences, and where
dissidents are held in solitary confinement for months without the
possibility of legal assistance. They hardly have a right to complain",
German Interior Ministry Spokesman Rainer Lingenthal
said on Wednesday.
Lingenthal said the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s
reaction to remarks by German Interior Minister Otto Schily
amounted to "unbelievable insolence".
Schily, who as Interior Minister is the German
government’s top cabinet member in the fight against terrorism, oversees the
country’s security and intelligence services. He told Spiegel magazine in an
interview published on Monday that while Iran and Iraq “are saying that they want to be
closer, the coming to power in Iran of an Islamic fundamentalist who
does not have an absolute distance with terrorism gives cause for grave
The German Interior Minister’s remarks infuriated the clerical government in Iran. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said, “Such
unfounded accusations against the President-elect are an affront to the
Iranian people’s vote”.
“I advise this German official to remove himself from being under the
influence of Zionists”, he added.
Prior to becoming Interior Minister, Otto Schily
was one of the main lawyers representing the victims’ families in the
high-profile trial of four men in Berlin accused of assassinating Iranian
dissidents in September 1992. The three-and-a-half year trial ended in April
1997 with a ruling that found Iran’s senior leaders, including the
Supreme Leader and the President, responsible for ordering the assassination
of Iranian dissidents abroad.
As the mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
showed his enmity towards Germany by ordering two memorial plaques in April
2004 to be installed in Tehran to blame Germany for supplying Iraq with
chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
Ahmadinejad’s decision was in retaliation for the Berlin city council’s decision to place
a commemorative plaque in the neighbourhood where
the Iranian dissidents were gunned down.
On Sunday, Ahmadinejad replied to the message of
congratulation by German President Horst Koehler with an unusual reference to
the allegation that Germany provided Saddam Hussein’s
government with chemical weapons.
"Iran in the past three decades has
borne many victims incurred by the chemical weapons gifted to Saddam Hossein by some industrial nations”, Ahmadinejad