Germany rejects Iranian complaint over stance on protests

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister on Friday rejected a complaint by her Iranian counterpart that she was taking an “interventionist” stance over protests in Iran and pushed back against his pledge of a “firm” response.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote in a tweet addressed to Germany’s Annalena Baerbock on Thursday that “provocative, interventionist & undiplomatic stances don’t signal sophistication & wisdom.”

His comments followed a speech to the German parliament by Baerbock on Wednesday in which she said that Berlin won’t let up in pursuing further sanctions against Tehran over its crackdown on protests. She said Germany also is working to secure a special meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Iran.

Amirabdollahian wrote that “undermining old ties has long-term consequences.” He said that “Germany can choose engagement to address shared challenges — or confrontation” and added, without elaborating, that “our response will be proportionate & firm.”

Asked on Friday about his comments, Baerbock said “it is our European understanding that complying with universal human rights is not a national matter but a universal one.”

“Just as human rights are valid universally for me and are indivisible, threats are not a means of foreign policy and international relations for me,” Baerbock added.

Demonstrations that have swept Iran have become one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s ruling clerics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Security forces have sought to quash dissent.

After the protests erupted, the United States and European Union imposed additional sanctions on Iran for its brutal treatment of demonstrators and its decision to send hundreds of drones to Russia for use in its war in Ukraine. EU foreign ministers are expected to agree on additional sanctions when they meet on Monday.

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