Germany is repaying Israel a “historical debt” by designating the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.
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.
Iran, on the other hand, is Hezbollah’s main backer – and has tried to portray Germany’s decision as stemming from guilt over the Holocaust.
“We feel that the Germans consider themselves to be historical debtors to the Zionists and act within this framework,” Mousavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.
Germany does not realise how Muslims in different parts of the world will react to its decision to label Hezbollah a terror group, he added.
Criticising Germany's mosque raids, Mousavi said: “It is not appropriate to attack all Muslims under the pretext that they feel a group of them are doing something illegal, which we don't see as such.”
Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese government and parliament, he said, adding that Germany’s decision to designate Hezbollah a terror group is “illegal.”
Hezbollah was established in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war and fought a 2006 war with Israel. It is one of Iran’s most powerful proxy organizations across the region and has helped support Iran’s fellow ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in the war in Syria.
Iranian officials, press criticize Germany
Iran has strongly condemned Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organisation by Germany.
The Iranian foreign ministry condemned Germany’s move, saying it would face consequences for giving in to Israeli and US pressure.
Germany has also been under attack from Iranian state media.
State-run daily Vatan-e Emrooz – affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – portrayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in an article entitled “servant of Zionism” on Saturday.
Vatan-e Emrooz called on Iran and its allies to “increase the costs” of labelling Hezbollah a terror group for the German government.
The state-run Kayhan newspaper – considered the mouthpiece of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran – attacked Germany on Saturday in an article that also denied the Holocaust.
“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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