Old Habits Die Hard. Germany Refuses to Stand Up for Human Rights but Shelters an Iranian Murderer and Torturer

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, talks with Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, at a meeting of top prosecutors from Islamic countries, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 22, 2009. Iran hosts a meeting of top prosecutors from Islamic countries, who are trying to find ways to arrange for the arrest and prosecution of Israeli leaders on war crimes charges over the Gaza assault earlier this year. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)


In what has increasingly become the default position for Angela Merkel’s government, Germany is showing in Iran that it will not stand up for human rights and will do whatever it takes to curry favor from anyone who will send a handful of euros their way.

Yesterday, the UN Security Council met on the subject of the demonstrations in Iran and the widespread human rights abuses by the regime. The flaccid Merkel government basically sat on its hands.

Why? Germany has been one of the major benefactors from the Iran Nuclear Deal and it is loathe to do anything to miff the mullahs.

Business ties between Germany and Iran have been growing, and that’s likely to continue.

Germany’s exports to Iran rose to €3.5 billion in 2017 from 2.6 billion in 2016, according to the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Reuters reported.

According to Germany’s public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Germany sells industrial machines, chemical and electrical goods, construction machines and other high-end products to Iran.

As DW reported, demand for machinery and equipment, vehicles and chemicals, as well as pharmaceutical and medical products, is particularly high in Iran.

Imports from Iran even increased by almost a quarter to almost €330 million. Germany not only buys dried fruits, pistachios and Persian rugs from Iran, but also industrial raw materials, for example, for the auto industry.

German exports to Iran grew by more than 27% year-on-year from 2015 to 2016, and remain on a steep upward curve.

“Germany’s trade surplus with Iran is massive,” said Michael Tockuss, the head of German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, based in the northern German port city of Hamburg, which is home to a population of more than 30,000 expatriate Iranian-Germans.

And the Germans will do just about anything to keep the Iranians happy. This includes financing regime-owned organizations in Germany’s Iranian community:

The mass circulation Bild newspaper reported in December that the German government also provides about $400,000 to a pro-Iranian regime umbrella organization as part of a program to counter extremism. The money for the Shi’ite communities of Germany (IGS) is designed to promote “deradicalization” and “prevent extremism.”

But a 2016 Hamburg intelligence agency report, which monitors threats to Germany’s democracy, includes a reference to the IGS and a number of its members’ organizations, including the Islamic Center of Hamburg. The German government classifies the Shi’ite umbrella group as “influenced by extremism.”

And it even extends to giving medical care to a key member of the mullah-ocracy responsible for mass murder and torture.

Meanwhile, in the German state of Lower Saxony, the medical treatment of Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the former head (1999-2009) of Iran’s infamous justice ministry, has stirred controversy, and prompted referral to the public prosecutor after a public letter calling for him to be “charged and condemned for his crimes against humanity.” The case is currently being investigated.

It was under Shahroudi’s watch as justice minister that adolescents were executed, political and human rights activists were arbitrarily arrested, prisoners were tortured and reform newspapers were closed. Shahroudi is a loyal follower of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is regarded by some as a possible successor. He was also a student of Khamenei’s predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Volker Beck, a Middle East expert and former Green Party lawmaker, tweeted to his nearly 90,000 followers, “A mass murderer enjoys German medicine and humanitarian protection?”

Queries to Dr. Madjid Samii, the president of the International Neuroscience Institute in Hannover, where Shahroudi is being treated, were not immediately returned. Samii traveled with the German foreign minister to Iran, as part of his 2015 business delegation.

For all the talk about the Trump administration being “isolated” on its out-front support of Iranian demonstrators, I’d much rather that we were isolated in support of freedom than acting as stooges for Tehran. This tears the mask of Germany’s alleged concern for human rights and shows they are only concerned about human rights to the extent that they don’t hurt their checkbook. If that requires them to give medical care to mass murderers, then so be it.