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Germany’s Relations with Iran Broached by Visiting U.S. Jews

The subject of Germany’s relations with Iran was high on the agenda of discussions when a delegation of American Jewish Committee officials paid a two-day visit to Germany earlier this month.

The delegation, representing AJCommittee’s Board of Governors, was led by Los Angeles attorney Bruce Ramer. ..TX..-Ignatz Bubis, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, along with representatives of Jewish communities from the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Russia and Great Britain, joined in the series of discussions with Germany’s top government officials.

In a two-hour meeting with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, president Roman Herzog and Rita Suessmuth, president of the Lower House of Parliament, the AJC delegation emphasized its concern about Germany’s relations with Iran.

Kinkel said Germany’s decision to maintain open channels to Iran was meant to encourage moderation from the government in Teheran and to champion peace in the Middle East.

But the delegation differed sharply, saying Iran is a major exporter of international terrorism and is implacably hostile to the peace process.

Ramer said he believes that the official U.S. position calling for diplomatic isolation of the Teheran government is the proper way to deal with Iran.

The AJCommittee delegation also met with representatives from all four major political parties during their visit. During each briefing, they brought up their concerns about Iran.

The delegation also used the series of meetings to discuss the matter of restitution payments to Holocaust survivors in the former East Germany.

Before the fall of communism and the reunification from the former East German government.

With many of these survivors elderly and now living on meager pensions, the delegation requested that the German cut through bureaucratic red tape and provide restitution payments.

According to AJCommittee’s European director, Rabbi Andrew Baker, Kohl told the group that he was sympathetic toward the survivors’ plight and was willing to help on a case-by-case basis.

Kinkel invited the delegation to provide him with a list of names so that his office could investigate each of their cases.

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