dimanche 3 août 2014

L'Allemagne et l'Iran: une histoire d'amour vieille de 100 ans

Amir Taheri @ Gatestone Institute analyse l'ouvrage de Matthias Küntzel(The Germans and Iran: The History and Present of a Fateful Friendship) sur les relations qui unissent l'Allemagne et l'Iran (deux peuples "aryens", un mythe racial concocté par les Nazis et envers lequel les dirigeants allemands ne prennent pas leurs distances) depuis 100 ans et l'hostilité de l'Allemagne envers les États-Unis.  Pour l'ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères Joshcka Fischer l'Allemagne agirait en tant que "bouclier de l'Iran contre l'Amérique".  On comprend mieux que le Président Obama a fait mettre sur écoute le téléphone privé de la chancelière - chose qu'on ne fait pas "entre amis".  Comme on le sait les dirigeants iraniens sont négationnistes, ça ne gêne pas du tout non plus dirigeants allemands. 

Selon Küntzel, les dirigeants allemands ont au moins deux raisons pour aider l'Iran à défier les États-Unis. Le ressentiment allemand provoqué par la défaite dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale, suivie par l'occupation étrangère, dirigée par les États-Unis.  Ce ressentiment ne peut pas être exprimé publiquement, du fait que l'Allemagne est membre de l'OTAN et a besoin de la protection des États-Unis contre la Russie, surtout pendant la guerre froide. Si l'Iran fait un pied de nez à l'US, c'est tant mieux pour l'Allemagne. De surcroît, l'Iran est l'un des rares, sinon le seul pays, où les Allemands n'ont jamais été regardés comme des "criminels de guerre" en raison de Hitler.  Un sondage a révélé qu'une majorité d'Allemands considèrent que les US et l'Israël sont une plus grande menace pour la paix que l'Iran...  C'est évidemment ce qu'on leur dit.

Le grand intérêt de l'ouvrage de Küntzel est de nous éclairer sur ce beaucoup de politiciens et universitaires allemands ressentent et pensent en privé.  Un rapport officiel allemand publié récemment stipule que la République fédérale n'a pas de preuves que le programme nucléaire de l'Iran possède un volet militaire.

Iran and Germany: A 100-Year Old Love Affair

"[...]  In 1986, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the mullah who served as President of the Islamic Republic, wrote a letter to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl emphasizing "our common Aryan roots." Kohl's Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel liked to speak of "our joint heritage and a 100-year alliance".

In 2009 in a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that the Irano-German "alliance, broken by the Allies in 1941" should be revived. Remarkably, German leaders did not bother to disown Hitler and distance themselves from the murderous myths spun by Nazis.  [...]

The only time the German Federal parliament approved a law unanimously was when it enacted legislation to guarantee investments in Iran. [...]

According to Küntzel, German leaders have at least two other reasons for helping Iran defy the United States.  The first is German resentment of defeat in the Second World War followed by foreign occupation, led by the US. That resentment cannot be publicly expressed, if only because Germany is a member of NATO and needed US protection against Russia, an even more dangerous enemy, during the Cold War. If Iran thumbs its nose at the US, so much the better.
The second reason is that Iran is one of the few countries, if not the only one, where Germans have never been looked at as "war criminals" because of Hitler. For over 100 years, Germany has been the favorite European power of most Iranians. Germans reciprocate the sentiment by having a good opinion of Iran. Küntzel cites a number of opinion polls that show a majority of Germans regard the US and Israel, rather than Iran, as the biggest threat to world peace. 

Küntzel also asserts that Germans are fed up with being constantly reminded of Hitler's crimes and beaten on the head with what Martin Walser, one of Germany's most famous writers, calls "the Holocaust cudgel." Walser says: "The motives of those holding up our disgrace stem not from a desire to keep alive the idea of the impermissibility of forgetting but rather to exploit our disgrace for their present purposes."

That the Holocaust never attracted popular attention in Iran is a relief to many Germans. "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have repeatedly asserted that Holocaust never happened. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has disputed the figure of six million Jews killed by Hitler, putting the number at "around 20,000". Former President Muhammad Khatami claims that "the facts of the situation have not been independently verified and established."

Finally, the Iranian nuclear dossier provides Germany with an opportunity to play in the diplomatic big leagues. In economic terms, Germany is a bigger power than Britain, France, Russia and China. And, yet, it has no place in the Security Council. The 5+1 formula creates a parallel Security Council in which Germany has a decisive say. The exercise could become a precedent for other international initiatives in which Germany is treated as a member of the "big powers club."
Küntzel cites another possible reason for Germany's attempts at helping Iran maintain its nuclear program with a minimum of modifications. In the 1990s, Germany tried to develop a clandestine nuclear program, very much like what Iran had been doing, by developing two sites closed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the time, President Bill Clinton forced the Germans to shut the program by threatening them with sanctions, a similar tactic used against Iran so far without success.

With the United States in global retreat under President Barack Obama, Germany is beginning to assert its independent personality: It is in neither Western nor Eastern camps, Küntzel shows. It is at the center of a new "political pole" in Europe.

Küntzel's book is of special interest for the glimpse it offers into what many German politicians and scholars feel and think in silence.

A recent official German report states: "The Federal Republic has no evidence showing that Iran's nuclear program has a military aspect." That may explain, at least in part, Berlin's ambiguous position during the 5+1 negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Originally written in German, Küntzel's book is also available in an excellent Persian version and is due for publication in English as well.
Amir Taheri is an Iranian journalist and author.

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