In an article for the newspaper “Bild am Sonntag”, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle talks about the conflict concerning Iran’s nuclear programme and Germany’s special relationship to Israel. (published 8 April 2012)
Iran is pushing ahead with its nuclear programme, paying no heed to international criticism. There are credible indications of a possible military dimension. In violation of international law, Iran has for years refused to cooperate fully in the monitoring of its nuclear programme. It must be said to those who also were recently unwilling to see it: this is a very serious matter, not a playground for polemics, ideology, and prejudice.
Our efforts to find political solutions are not an empty diplomatic ritual, but rather an attempt to work with our partners to preserve peace by finding the right answers to the developing crisis in a region that is very important to Germany and Europe.
A Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons is what we are working towards.
Iran has the right to use atomic energy for civil purposes. It does not have the right to atomic weapons.
Those who play down this threat are refusing to accept reality.
An Iran with nuclear weapons would have grave consequences: the already endangered and precarious stability of the region would be gone for good. An arms race would start, which could hardly be kept under control. The global security architecture would be shaken.
If Iran had nuclear arms, Israel’s security would also be threatened. That is cause for special concern for Germany’s responsible foreign policy, because Germany has a historical responsibility for the people in Israel. But there is much more that we share with Israel: a true partnership of values. With the only truly functioning democracy in the region, we share a belief in the rights of individuals, in freedom, responsibility, and the rule of law.
These are values we share with a pugnacious democracy: debates in the Knesset are maybe even more heated than in the Bundestag. And we share these values with a democracy that can take external criticism. In press conferences with my Israeli counterpart in Jerusalem, I criticized Israel’s settlement policy clearly in front of all the country’s media. Something like that would be unthinkable in Iran.
Putting Israel and Iran on the same moral level is not witty. It is absurd.