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German Economy Minister To Press Tehran On Rights, Role In Syria

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel

Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel says he plans to raise concerns about Iran’s human rights record and its role in the war in Syria when he visits Tehran this weekend.

Germany’s weekly Der Spiegel news magazine quoted Gabriel in its September 30 edition as saying that Iran can only have normal and friendly relations with Germany when Tehran accepts the right of Israel to exist.

Gabriel is scheduled to arrive in Tehran on October 2 for a two-day visit.

Gabriel said he was skeptical about imposing fresh sanctions against Iran but said Tehran needs to realize it would be difficult under current circumstances to find lasting partners for business deals in Germany or other European countries.

No business would invest in Iran in the longer term if it believes sanctions could be reinstated, he said.

"And part of that is the situation in Syria, where Iran is playing a decisive role," he said. "We cannot just go with business as usual in our relationship with countries who are involved in this murderous war."

Based on reporting by Der Spiegel and Reuters