U.S. senators urge German leaders to cancel Iran trip

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Two U.S. senators and the head of Germany’s Jewish community urged German deputies from the Bundestag’s German-Iranian parliamentary group to cancel a trip to Iran.

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The Oct. 27 visit was announced last month by the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran as a means to “build bridges” with that country.

“At this particularly sensitive juncture in diplomatic relations, the international community needs to send a clear, unified message to Tehran as we pressure the regime to come to the negotiating table,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wrote in an email to The Jerusalem Post. “A formal visit at this time — no matter how well-intentioned — is counterproductive and undermines our joint efforts to put an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) wrote to the Israeli newspaper noting “that sending a delegation to Iran sends the wrong message.”

Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called the trip “a brazen piece of being on the wrong political and moral way, that of all things to visit a regime that continues to build its nuclear program and threatens the destruction of Israel and continues to deny the Holocaust,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

Earlier this month, Shaheen and Cardin sent a letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz urging Schulz to reconsider the visit “given Iran’s continued human-rights offenses and failure to suspend its nuclear program.”

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