Jewish leaders seek explanations over Iranian minister’s secret visit to Berlin


(JTA) — An alleged visit to Berlin by Iran’s intelligence minister has raised the eyebrows and ire of Jewish leaders in Germany.

Citing Iranian media reports, the American Jewish Committee in Berlin has asked for an official explanation from the German government as to why the minister, Mahmoud Alawi, would have been officially invited to Berlin.

“Iran’s secret service supports terror organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, which destabilize the entire Middle East,” Deidre Berger, head of the AJC Berlin office, said in a statement Wednesday, requesting information about the purpose of the meeting and the content of the discussions.

“In Germany, it was the Iranian secret service that took part in illegal efforts to gain nuclear technology and that has been proven to have played a role in the death of Iranian exiled politicians in Berlin.”

There have been suggestions that a visit by Alawi might be a prelude to an official state visit by the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, whose official visit to Austria was canceled in March following protests over his country’s human rights record.

In response to an official query from Green Party parliamentarian Volker Beck in July, the German government said there can be no normalization of relations between Germany and Iran “as long as Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

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