- The flag of the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran was hoisted at the Presidential Palace in Germany.
- Politicians and human rights defenders have criticized the German president's "warm and magnificent" welcome.
- "The German president is committed to defending human rights everywhere, especially when he meets with representatives of repressive regimes," said Wenzel Michanski, director of the German branch of Human Rights Watch.
The ceremony of presenting the credentials of Iran’s new ambassador to Germany has been criticized. Some German politicians have shrugged off the “glorious” welcome of the Iranian ambassador. The president’s office says the ceremonies were normal and diplomatic.
On Friday, August 16, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed the new Iranian Ambassador to Germany diplomatically. The flag of the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran was hoisted at the Presidential Palace in Germany.
Germany’s Bild newspaper, known for its critical attitude towards the Iranian government, described the welcome as “warm and magnificent,” and in a report titled “Steinmeier,” the German president welcomed the ambassador from a “savage” regime. Politicians and human rights defenders have also criticized Germany.
Bild raised a question: “Would a criminal ambassador like Iran be welcomed like all ambassadors?” The paper goes on to interview several German politicians to find out.
Frank Muller-Rosen Tritt, a foreign policy expert from Germany’s Free Democrats, said in an interview with the Bild newspaper, “I hope the President has sent a key message to the Iranian ambassador. It is not and we cannot accept support for terrorist activities or organizations.”
“The German president is committed to defending human rights everywhere, especially when he meets with representatives of repressive regimes,” said Wenzel Michanski, director of the German branch of Human Rights Watch. In Iran, women are currently in prison for not wearing the hijab veil. Environmentalists face the death penalty. “The German president should also openly condemn human rights violations at such a ceremony.”
Ms. Ulrich Becker, from Stop the Bomb group, a group opposed to Iran’s policies against Israel, said, “it is disappointing that the German government ignores the Iranian regime’s anti-semitic policy and deceives its people and wants to show that there is normal diplomacy in relations with Iran.”
Becker emphasizes that the Iranian regime cannot establish normal relations with Germany. Becker has also suggested that the German president should respect the Iranian opposition’s campaign for democracy and freedom and invite opposition representatives to his palace.
The Reaction of the German Presidential Office
A spokesman for the German presidential office, in response to Bild’s criticism, explained that the ambassador’s acceptance was based on the German Constitution, as well as within the framework of common practice. He emphasized that under German law, the president is responsible for accepting the credentials of new foreign ambassadors by conducting formal ceremonies, and this has been a custom.
At the same time, the Spiegel newspaper has criticized the German president for not saying anything about the human rights situation in Iran in his message, noting that Iran was funding “terrorist organizations” such as Hamas or Hezbollah.
Following these criticisms, the German president’s office at the time explained that sending a congratulatory message on anniversaries occasion is a common practice in Germany.