Germany’s Foreign Ministry reversed its position that previously labelled the Iranian regime’s calls to exterminate the Jewish state as only “anti-Israel rhetoric,” telling The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Tehran’s language is antisemitic.
The pro-Syrian regime news outlet Al-Masdar News (AMN) reported on Monday the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj.-Gen. Hussein Salami, urged the “elimination” of the Jewish state.
“The geography of the resistance will not forget the name and goals of the former secretary-general of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Ramadan Shalah, the high, bright and hope of liberating Jerusalem and removing the cancerous gland [Israel] from the region,” Salami said.
When the Post asked German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas about Salami’s statements, the Foreign Ministrysaid: “Such statements are absolutely unacceptable. We strongly condemn calling for the annihilation of Israel, legitimizing terrorism and spreading antisemitic content.”
Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government declared that Iran’s call to obliterate the State of Israel is not an expression of antisemitism.
In late September 2019, Salami delivered his call to exterminate the Jewish state before an audience of IRGC leaders that was publicized by the state-funded IRNA agency, as well as other Iranian regime-controlled outlets.
Salami said that “This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer… a dream [but] it is an achievable goal.”
He added that his country has “managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the impostor Zionist regime” 40 years after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The Post had specifically asked the German government at the time if Salami’s statements were antisemitic. Merkel’s administration said the Salami’s statements were merely “anti-Israel rhetoric.”
It is unclear what caused the dramatic change in Germany’s position.
The Post sent its press query on Wednesday, the day Maas was in Israel to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and regional threats.
Germany remains one of Iran’s most important European trade partners. Maas has led the effort to set up a financial mechanism to circumvent US sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic for terrorism and its efforts to build an illicit nuclear weapons program. In 2019 and 2020, Germany’s foreign ministry celebrated Iran’s Islamic revolution. The US government under both the Obama and Trump administrations classified Iran’s regime the worst state-sponsor of terrorism.