Iran newspaper calls for action against German envoy after Hezbollah designation

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An Iranian state-run daily has called for “firm action” against the German ambassador to Tehran in response to Germany designating the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Germany branded Hezbollah a “Shia terrorist organization” last week, with dozens of police and special forces storming mosques and associations across the country linked to the Lebanese militant group. It has previously considered only the organization’s military wing, and not its political wing, as terrorist – a distinction that critics including the US say is false.

Germany’s move has been strongly condemned by the Iranian government and press.

Read more: Nasrallah condemns Germany's ban on Hezbollah as bowing to US pressure

Referring to Germany’s ambassador to Tehran Michael Klor-Berchtold as “the Zionists’ spy,” the state-run Vatan-e Emrooz daily called for “firm action” against him in an article published on Monday.

Ambassador Klor-Berchtold has a “clear and thought-provoking background in espionage activities,” the article said, adding that he has “close ties” with the Israeli Mossad.

Read more: Germany’s labeling of Hezbollah as terror group is ‘historical debt’ to Israel: Iran

Vatan-e Emrooz, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), argued that Iran is the ultimate target behind Berlin’s ban of Hezbollah.

“Taking firm action against Germany’s ambassador can display Iran’s lack of tolerance to foreign threats that threaten the country’s national security and interests,” the article said.

The daily published another article on the same day attacking German Chancellor Angela Merkel entitled “Merkel worse than Hitler.”

“Even Hitler – with his collection of crimes during World War II – did not auction off the Germans’ independence and reputation as much as Merkel,” read the article.

On Saturday, Vatan-e Emrooz portrayed Merkel as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in an article entitled “servant of Zionism.”

The state-run Kayhan newspaper – considered the mouthpiece of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran – also attacked Germany on Saturday.

“Branding Hezbollah as a terrorist group is an order dictated to you by Israel, not a decision you made independently!” wrote Kayhan’s managing director and editor-in-chief Hossein Shariatmadari.

Shariatmadari was personally appointed by Khamenei in 1993.

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