German Jewish leader raps talks with Iran

BERLIN (JTA) — The head of Germany’s Jewish community condemned any suggestion of negotiations with the current Iranian regime.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in remarks Monday pointedly condemned President Obama’s approach without directly referring to his commitment to talks with Iran. She also called for international support for pro-democratic protesters in Iran.

"One should not and cannot negotiate with such unpredictable and brutal autocrats," Knobloch said. "Rather, one must put them in their place, with all the tools at the disposal of the international community. We owe it to ourselves and to our democratic traditions."

Her comments came as Iranian clerics approved a partial recount in last week’s disputed election in which incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has claimed victory over Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Obama, while condemning the recent violence against protesters, has repeated his intentions to meet with whoever emerges as Iranian leaders.

Knobloch, who survived the Holocaust in hiding, has pressed the German government to increase sanctions on the Islamic Republic, given Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust and verbal threats against Israel.

On Monday, Knobloch called on the international community and the United Nations to support the opposition in Iran and take a clear stand against violations to human rights and freedom there.

"Violent special units who are randomly beating peaceful demonstrators make the ruthless and inhumane character of the regime in Tehran more obvious than ever," she said. "Anyone who treats its own people in such an authoritarian and brutal manner, and who in addition has threatened other countries in the Middle East with destruction for years now, has forfeited its place within the community of civilized peoples.

"It is the task of all peaceful and democratic governments to recognize this and draw the necessary conclusions."
 

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