Jewish leaders concerned over Iranian minister’s 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 press reports, the American Jewish Committee in Berlin has asked for an official explanation from the German government as to why Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi would have been officially invited to


“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,” she added.

There have been suggestions that a visit by Alawi might be a prelude to an official state visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The Iranian leader’s planned visit to Austria was cancelled last March

following protests over the Islamic Republic’s human rights record.

The Federal Government responded to an official query from Green Party parliamentarian Volker Beck in July, saying that there can be no normalization of relations between Germany and Iran “as long as Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.”