September 6, 2019
Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, one of America’s most high-profile diplomats, slammed Berlin’s municipal government and the Foreign Ministry for mainstreaming an Iranian mayor who should be sanctioned by the US and EU because of his terrorism activities.
“Rolling out the red carpet in Berlin for the IRGC affiliated mayor of Tehran, who calls for the destruction of Israel and supports pushing gays off tall buildings, is unjustifiable,” Grenell told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. “A senior Berlin city official told me that the Foreign Ministry asked the city to host the terrorism-supporting mayor – so I am not sure whose idea it was to welcome the guy. But the IRGC affiliated mayor should be on the US and EU sanctions list, not on the City of Berlin’s VIP list,” he said.
Amid a rise in anti-Jewish violence in Berlin, mayor Michael Müller will meet with Tehran’s mayor Pirouz Hanachi, who has participated in a rally calling for Israel’s destruction, and was a member of the US-sanctioned Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The IRGC paid convicted Pakistani agent Haidar Syed-Naqfi at least €2,052 from July 2015 through July 2016 to spy on Jewish and pro-Israel figures and institutions. According to German authorities, his actions were “a clear indication of an assassination attempt.”
The American Jewish Committee in Berlin, the Berlin Jewish community and the German Kurdish community have blasted Müller for his planned meeting with Hanachi.
Iran’s regime publicly hanged a man based on anti-gay charges in January. Grenell, who is the most senior openly gay official in the Trump administration, is overseeing a campaign for the US administration to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.
Iran’s regime, according to a 2008 British Wikileaks cable, has executed between 4,000-6,000 gays and lesbians since the country’s Islamic revolution in 1979.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center considered including Müller on its 2017 top-ten worst outbreaks of antisemitism because of the mayor’s alleged failure to rope in rising Jew-hatred and contemporary antisemitism targeting Israel in the capital of Germany.