Internal Pressure in Germany to 'Radically' Change Policy towards Iran

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (dpa)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (dpa)
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Internal Pressure in Germany to 'Radically' Change Policy towards Iran

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (dpa)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (dpa)

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has sent two warnings to her Iranian counterpart, Amir Hossein Abdollahian, to prevent escalation with Israel.

Although her first call that came prior to the Iranian attack on Israel did not deter Tehran from its plans, the German diplomat sent a second warning, condemning the Iranian strike and calling on Tehran “to immediately stop the violence against Israel and contribute to reducing the escalation.”

While Germany is making every effort to persuade Iran and Israel to alleviate the tension, the country has been facing increasing internal pressure to change its policy towards Iran.

Michael Roth, a representative of the ruling Socialist Party and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, said on X: “Germany’s policy towards Iran must be radically rethought.”

He called for taking four steps in response to Iran’s attack on Israel. First, “the sanctions must be tightened, as Germany is Iran’s most important European partner.” Second, he stressed that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard should be “finally” included on the terrorist list, and third, he underlined the importance of working to “isolate Iran diplomatically.” He also stressed the need to “expand defense cooperation with Israel.”

A similar call was issued by Bijan Djir-Sarai, Secretary-General of the Liberal Party. He said that the European Union must “adopt a different policy towards Iran,” pointing to the need to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the terrorist list.

Markus Söder, leader of the opposition Bavarian Social Christian party, urged his country and the European Union to adopt “a completely different policy towards Iran”.

He added that it was essential to discuss how Iran can be deterred, by adopting a completely different economic and trade policy designed for sanctions.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.