An Iranian expatriate criticized the German government's dealings with Tehran Saturday, saying it preferred economic interests to the halting of Iran's nuclear program. The German ambassador refuted his claims.
Ayatollah Dr. Mehdi Haeri Khorshidi, a former member of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's government, said during a convention on Iran at Haifa University that Germany prefers to salvage its billion-dollar deals rather than apply the pressure necessary to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
The ayatollah, who resided in Germany in the years 1986-2003, said the country had extended its dealings with Iran while pointedly disregarding its nuclear program and human rights violations.
He also criticized the EU which, he said, does not take advantage of its power in order to weaken Tehran's nuclear aspirations and prevent a war that would be destructive to the entire region.
"Iran depends on Europe no less than Europe depends on Iran," he said.
Khorshidi's statements stirred an uproar at the conference, which was also attended by Germany's ambassador to Israel, Dr. Harald Kindermann. He stepped on stage unannounced in order to refute the claims made by the ayatollah, stressing that his country had changed its policies towards Iran.
Khorshidi served as justice minister in Khomeini's government and also as the prime minister's religious affairs advisor. He was arrested and jailed for five years after criticizing the regime, and in 1986 sought refuge in Germany. He currently resides in Los Angeles.