BERLIN, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Germany has declared two employees of the Iranian embassy personae non gratae and ordered them to leave the country in response to Iran sentencing a German national to death, a statement from the foreign office said on Wednesday.
Germany summoned Iran‘s charge d’affaires, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement, adding: “He was informed that we do not accept the massive violation of the rights of a German citizen.”
“We call on Iran to revoke Jamshid Sharmahd’s death sentence and provide him with a fair appeal process based on the rule of law,” she added.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the sentence as unacceptable, calling on Iran to reverse the ruling.
“The Iranian regime fights its own people in every possible way and disregards human rights,” Scholz wrote on Twitter.
Das iranische Regime bekämpft sein eigenes Volk auf jede erdenkliche Weise und missachtet die Menschenrechte. Das Todesurteil gegen #JamshidSharmahd ist inakzeptabel. Wir verurteilen dies auf das Schärfste und fordern das iranische Regime auf, das Urteil zurückzunehmen. #Iran
— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) February 22, 2023
Sharmahd, a German-Iranian national, was sentenced to death on charges of “corruption on earth”, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported on Tuesday.
The verdict can be appealed.
A foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that the consulate was working to provide further support to the dual national and was in touch with the man’s relatives.
“We will continue to provide consular support to the extent that this is possible. I have already explained how difficult this is in Iran,” the spokesperson said.
“This is a first instance verdict and we will follow the progress of the situation,” he added.
Iran accuses Sharmahd, who also has U.S. residency, of heading a pro-monarchist group accused of a deadly 2008 bombing and planning other attacks in the country.
Tensions between Iran and the West have intensified in recent months, pushing already-stalled efforts to revive talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme further into the background.
Germany has been a vocal backer of European Union sanctions against Iran over its crackdown on protesters in the country. The bloc plans to widen the measures to include Iranian actors involved in the Russian war in Ukraine.
(Reporting by Rachel More and Friederike Heine, Editing by Alex Richardson)