View from Iran (and Germany): Schroeder: Some states back terrorists ‘directly or indirectly’

Schroeder: Some states back terrorists ‘directly or indirectly’
By M.A. Saki and Negar Asadi

TEHRAN – Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said that some countries support the terrorist groups “directly or indirectly”.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times in the German embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, Schroeder also said the “entire world” is duty bound to put an end to the menace of terrorism.

The former German chancellor also said military force is not the only way to stabilize the Middle East region. “In my opinion, peace and stability in the Middle East region cannot be established by purely military means. However, I think military force is required in order to fight Daesh (ISIL).”

The former German chancellor also said, “Iran plays a very important role in establishing peace and stability in the Middle East region, especially in Syria.”

Schroeder also expressed satisfaction over Iran’s participation in the Vienna talks on Syria and urged the other regional countries, especially Saudi Arabia, be present in the talks.

“I am very happy that Iran announced it will continue to make efforts to help establish peace and security in the region regardless of the recent tension with Saudi Arabia,” the former German leader pointed out.

On January 4, Saudi Arabia announced the severance of diplomatic ties with Iran under the pretext of an attack on its embassy in Tehran by dozens of protestors, who had been enraged by the execution of pro-democracy Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr.

“Obama has ‘serious intention’ to implement nuclear deal”

Schroeder also said U.S. President Barack Obama has a “serious intention” to implement the nuclear deal with Iran.

“I hope that the U.S. president, whom I think has the serious intention to implement the agreement, will win over the opponents and implement the agreement. I am optimistic that the U.S. will meet the terms of the agreement,” he pointed out when asked that some U.S. congressmen are pushing for new sanctions against Iran that may create hurdles in the implementation of the landmark nuclear accord.

Iran and six major powers (the U.S., Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and France) finalized the text of the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015. The deal is expected to go into effect soon.

Schroeder said Germany as a member of the group will abide by the terms of the nuclear accord.

“Russian and West ‘equally’ duty bound to fight Daesh”

On Russia’s airstrikes against Daesh – also called ISIS, ISIL, and IS – he said Russia and Western countries are “equally” duty bound to fight Daesh.

“I hope that the military fight against Daesh will not lead to difference and clash between the U.S. and Russia and will be carried out jointly.”

Schroeder noted that Germany “indirectly” participates in military activities against terrorism through military training and sending weapons for those fighting ISIL.

He also said that the German judicial system and police force control the security situation at home and have set strict laws to punish those who may commit acts of terrorism.

“Invasion against Iraq was like opening Pandora’s Box”

Schroeder, who led Germany from 1998 to 2005, was a strong opponent of the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“The invasion against Iraq was like opening Pandora’s Box,” the renowned German politician noted.

He said that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the U.S. caused many problems and it was one of the main reasons behind the current crises in the region.

In response to a question on the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey on November 24 last year, the former chancellor said, “It would have been better if this had not happened.”

Turkey said it downed the warplane after it violated Turkey’s airspace. However Russia said the fighter jet was downed over Syrian territory.

The former German leader also said that Russia poses no threat to the “independence” of the Baltic countries and Poland as these countries are members to the European Union and NATO. However, he said that “historic fear” of these countries is “understandable”.

“New chapter in Germany-Iran ties”

Schroeder also said that a “new chapter in the book of Iran-Germany ties will be opened after the removal of sanctions,” noting that the new chapter in relations will be “very good”.

“Cultural and economic ties will definitely be expanded; however, Germany’s economy does not only seek doing business with Iran. It will also be more active in the areas of technology and investment.”

Schroeder said that the relations between Iran and Germany have always been very “good and close even during the hard times” and the two countries have always tried to preserve the ties which will be expanded after the removal of sanctions against Iran.

He also attached great importance to “scientific exchanges”, especially cooperation between the two countries’ universities.

“I think it is very important that the Iranian youths go to Germany to study and more Germans come to the Iranian universities to learn the Persian language which I think is very difficult,” he explained.


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