By Hamed Mohammadi
The Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian-backed Hezbollah pose a real threat to the security of the southwestern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, according to the annual domestic intelligence report released this month by Germany’s State Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV).
Some 1,000 Hezbollah members are living in Germany. Also, many Iraqi nationals with close links to the Islamic Republic regime have settled in Baden-Wurttemberg as refugees and asylum-seekers in recent years, the report added.
In April, Germany designated the military and political wings of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
“The move to ban Hezbollah’s activities in Germany comes after a sustained campaign by the U.S. and Israel,” CNN reported in April. “Last December, the German parliament approved a motion. It has argued for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to ban the group’s activities in Germany.”
“The U.S. and Israel have praised a decision that puts Germany at odds with the European Union, which in 2013 designated Hezbollah’s military wing but not its political arm,” CNN added. “The Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group is a strong force in Lebanese politics, which is why some European countries are reluctant to ban the group in its entirety.”
“Germany is repaying Israel a ‘historical debt’ by designating Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi was quoted by Al Arabiya English as saying last month. “We feel that the Germans consider themselves to be historical debtors to the Zionists and act within this framework,”
In recent years, German authorities have shut down money laundering operations and other schemes to bypass U.S. sanctions by Iran and its proxies, including Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, the German Embassy in Tehran recently announced that the German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold’s foreign service tour to Iran would end sometime this summer.
Before being appointed as Germany’s ambassador to Iran in 2016, Mr. Klor-Berchtold headed the crisis response center at the Federal Foreign Office (A.A.), and before that, he was the vice president of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND).
This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.