Immediately after the nuclear deal was concluded in 2015, German companies sprang at the opportunity to trade with the Islamic Republic. Much of this business—which involves 10,000 companies—is backed by the German government’s credit guarantees. Since the U.S. withdrew from the agreement and began re-imposing sanctions on Iran, Berlin has led efforts to combat the sanctions and keep Tehran in the global economy. Benjamin Weinthal notes the irony of this support for a blatantly Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic regime from a country whose governing class deems itself the conscience of Europe:
[The German chancellor Angela] Merkel and her foreign minister, Heiko Maas, . . . are now working overtime to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran. Maas, who claimed earlier this year that he entered politics “because of Auschwitz,” argued for an alternative method to facilitate financial transfers to the radical clerical regime in Tehran. . . .
The moral and economic danger represented by Merkel’s emergence as Iran’s major champion in Europe has been a kind of secret that dare not speak its name in the media and among the chattering classes in the Federal Republic. A rare exception in a country that does not have the Anglo-American tradition of aggressive investigative reporting was the BILD newspaper’s exposé of a German company that sold material to merchants based in Tehran. The components were later found in Iranian-produced rockets that contained chemicals used to gas Syrian civilians in January and February of 2018. . . . Germany’s export-control agency [has stated since then] that it will not bar the sale of such material in the future as a “dual-use” good that can be used for both military and civilian purposes. . . .
As shown by Maas’s [public visits to] concentration camps, and frequent invocations of the “lessons of the Holocaust,” it would appear that memorializing the Holocaust can be a way for German politicians to inoculate themselves against criticism for their unwillingness to confront the lethal anti-Semitic Islamic regime in Tehran. Moreover, the Holocaust commemoration process leads many Germans to believe they are actually on the side of the Jewish state, even when their government is not.
The German society’s so-called “working through of its past” can also culminate in large numbers of Germans, to paraphrase the writer Wolfgang Pohrt, behaving as Israel’s probation officers, acting on the highest moral grounds to stop “their victims” from recidivism. This form of morality-animated anti-Semitism is quite widespread in the Federal Republic, where a recent government-commissioned anti-Semitism report revealed that 40 percent of Germans across the political spectrum hold anti-Semitic attitudes.