On the occasion of Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s trip to Iran, AJC Berlin Ramer Institute has called on the German government to take action to oppose Tehran’s Holocaust cartoon contest.
In a letter to Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, AJC Berlin Ramer Institute Director Deidre Berger wrote: “Decency, morality, and humanity demand that the Federal Republic not stand idly by and watch while the Iranian government insults the honor of the victims of the Holocaust and their families.”
"Germany should demand cancellation of this disgraceful event, and, if necessary, follow up with political and economic consequences," Berger added.
This coming June, the 3rd “International Holocaust Cartoon Competition” will be held in the Iranian city of Mashhad. The Municipality of Tehran has invited participants from around the world to submit their entries by June. The winner will receive a prize of $50,000, an even larger sum than the $12,000 competition prize money previously offered. On January 27, 2016, on the occasion of world-wide Holocaust commemorations, Iran's supreme ruler Ayatollah Khomeini chose to issue a video doubting the authenticity of the genocide.
UNESCO recently submitted a complaint to Iran regarding the planned cartoon competition, in which UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her deep dismay. She said the competition contradicts UNESCO objectives "to promote better understanding and knowledge of the Holocaust.”
"A regime in which anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are raison d'etre of the state cannot be a partner for peace and stability. As this anti-Semitic competition demonstrates, Iran is still not ready to undertake essential policy changes that are necessary for Iran to become an international partner," Berger continued.
Since Iran signed a nuclear deal restricting its nuclear capacity in July 2015 with six powers, a number of German companies in the infrastructure and engineering industries, including Siemens, have started planning large investments in Iran. Preliminary contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have already been signed.