Ahmadinejad Letter to Merkel

Yesterday, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad delivered a letter for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the German charge d’affairs in Tehran. This comes a couple of months after Ahmadinejad wrote a personal letter to President Bush. Although the contents of the letter to Merkel are as yet unknown, Leon de Winter points to previous statements by Ahmadinejad to Germany as an indication of what might be in the letter. (We can also return to Ahmadinejad’s letter to Bush for some insight into the type of islamicist material Ahmadinejad might have included in his letter to Merkel.)

De Winter notes a speech delivered by Ahmadinejad on Iran’s state TV in April as one possible indication of what Ahmadinejad might want to say to Merkel. This is interesting and, in fact, shocking material. De Winter quotes Ahmadinejad as having said the following:

Look at the German people. Three generations ago, there was a war. But today an intelligent people is still a hostage of World War II. . . . Every German born is indebted to the arrogant and greedy Zionists. . . . When you visit a country, in every town there is a symbol of national pride, every town has something saying to the great German people that their parents and grandparents were murderers.

De Winter suggests that Ahmadinejad is blaming Germany for complicity in the creation of Israel with this and other rhetoric. That is, because of guilt for WWII and the Holocaust, which is foisted on Germany by Zionists, Germany has been complicit in the creation of Israel. But De Winter includes an interesting observation about the reality of Germany’s WWII legacy (as opposed to Ahmadinejad’s warped view): “Trapped in his Middle Eastern Islamic mindset of honour and shame, [Ahmadinejad] can’t understand how recognition of a wrong can strengthen a nation, and how Germany has overcome its past in a way that leaves much of the rest of Europe standing: Poland, Austria, France … you name it, they’re still struggling with the demons that Germany dealt with long ago.”

I don’t think we have any reason to believe that Ahmadinejad’s letter to Merkel will simply be a professional letter dealing with mundane matters such as Iran’s nuclear program given the content of the ideological letter he sent to Bush and the content of his past statements.

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3 thoughts on “Ahmadinejad Letter to Merkel

  1. In the German news today, the letter is described as denying both Israel’s right to exist and the Holocaust.

    Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman said that “We do not intend to engage in a protracted correspondence with the Iranians” because the letter “contains many statements — for example about Israel’s right to exist and about the Holocaust — that are not acceptable for us.” (“‘Wir haben nicht die Absicht, uns auf eine längere Korrespondenz mit der iranischen Seite einzulassen’. . . . Der Brief ‘enthält viele Aussagen, etwa zum Existenzrecht Israels und zum Holocaust, die für uns nicht akzeptabel sind‘”) Additionally, in an apparent attempt to maintain a certain moral higher ground, the newspaper reports that “There is no intention of publishing the letter from the German side.” (“Von deutscher Seite bestehe nicht die Absicht, den Brief zu veröffentlichen.“) The spokesman said that the letter mentions the conflict about Iran’s nuclear program but does not directly address it, much as in the letter to President Bush.

    However, an inside source has stated that the letter expresses Iran’s love for Germany’s philosophical and intellectual tradition and compares Iran and Germany on that level. The source said that the letter expresses that “both peoples are predestined to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.” This was apparently supposed to be “a reference to the Holocaust as a denial of Israel’s right to exist.” (“Beide Völker seien prädestiniert dafür, den Konflikt zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern zu lösen, so der ehemalige Vizepräsident über den Brief weiter. Dies sei als Anspielung auf den Holocaust, als eine Leugnung des Existenzrechts Israels zu verstehen.“)

    Scary stuff. The article mentioned that the letter had been passed on to other Western media outlets, so if the Germans aren’t going to publish it, we will likely see it soon elsewhere.

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