"Minimal pressure on Tehran": Röttgen attacks Baerbock's Iran policy

Thousands of Iranians have been protesting against their regime since mid-September.

"Minimal pressure on Tehran": Röttgen attacks Baerbock's Iran policy

Thousands of Iranians have been protesting against their regime since mid-September. There is a sharp debate in the Bundestag as to whether Germany is doing enough to support the resistance. Foreign Minister Baerbock defends herself against accusations that she is acting too slowly and hesitantly.

The federal government and the opposition have engaged in a heated argument in the Bundestag about the right course in Iran policy. "Germany is doing too little," criticized CDU MP Norbert Röttgen. The Iranian protest movement is being abandoned by a "policy of minimal pressure on the regime". Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock rejected the criticism: "We are not letting up," assured the Green politician. "Every day we will try to get more sanctions packages on the way."

However, the Iran policy is also controversial within the traffic light coalition. "Germany must act more decisively when it comes to protecting human rights," FDP MP Renata Alt emphasized to Baerbock. "The decisions to impose sanctions are taking too long and are too hesitant." The reason for the debate was a joint motion by the traffic light groups. In it, the SPD, Greens and FDP advocate supporting the protest in Iran with additional sanctions against Tehran and better protection for opposition members who have fled.

Security forces in Iran again used violence against street protests on Wednesday. In the southeast, scores of people demonstrated 40 days after the bloody crackdown on protests in the city of Sahedan, eyewitnesses said. On September 30, dozens of demonstrators were killed in the capital of Sistan-Balochistan province. After the traditional mourning period, protesters repeatedly flocked to the streets to express their anger and sadness.

Many shops in Sahedan were reportedly closed due to fears of unrest. According to eyewitnesses, the police and security forces responded to rallies around the city cemetery with shots and tear gas. "It's everyday life now," one man described the situation. The city has been in a state of emergency since September 30, dubbed Bloody Friday. Residents spoke of civil war-like conditions.

An influential Sunni cleric in the province, Maulawi Abdulhamid, recently criticized the course taken by the political leadership in the Shia-majority country. Other local clergy are said to have joined his course. The preacher recently called for a referendum on the demonstrators' demands. Iran's leadership in Tehran views this with concern. The protests in Iran were triggered by the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini in mid-September. The vice squad arrested her for allegedly violating Islamic dress codes. The woman died in police custody on September 16. Since her death, tens of thousands have been demonstrating across the country against the government's repressive course and the Islamic system of rule.