Among the peculiarities of the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic is the involvement of Germany—the only party (aside from Iran itself) not a permanent member of the UN Security Council and without nuclear weapons of its own. Berlin, moreover, has consistently urged the rest of Europe to maintain the agreement despite the American withdrawal, and has worked to protect Tehran from additional sanctions. Matthias Küntzel explains why:
Many believe that the special German-Iranian relationship [stems from] German economic interests, but this is only a secondary aspect. In 2017, German exports to Iran comprised only about 0.2 percent of total German exports. . . . Other causes are more important, but less discussed.
For example, the historical dimension: Germany and Iran have been allied since the beginning of the last century; a relationship that began because Iran (then called Persia) required foreign technical support for the development of infrastructure and industry. . . . Between 1933 and 1941, the German share of Iranian imports rose from 11 percent to 43 percent, while the German share of Iranian exports rose from 19 percent to 47 percent. Another aspect of the Nazi period, which continues to be important in Iran, was pointed out in 1996 by Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani: “Our relations have always been good. Both [peoples] are of the Aryan race.”
West Germany revived these trade ties in the 1950s, and the relationship survived the fall of the shah in 1979. Since the 1990s, Berlin has sought to undermine U.S. efforts to restrain the Iranian nuclear program:
As states without nuclear weapons, Germany and Iran both share an interest in interpreting the Nonproliferation Treaty [loosely]. That is why Germany has always been in favor of conceding to Iran the right to enrich uranium. And that is also why . . . the extent of the danger posed by nuclear weapons in the hands of Shiite Islamists has hardly been mentioned in German public debates.
[But Germany’s] current relationship [with Iran] is based not on a rational consideration of interests but on nostalgia, illusion, and disregard for Israel’s survival. It is time to . . . support those who are rising up against the Iranian terrorist regime instead of the butchers within the regime. . . . Finally, the need for the country that was responsible for the Holocaust yesterday to stop courting the country that denies the Holocaust is long overdue.
Read more on Tablet: https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/298603/germany-cant-stop-loving-iran