According to Küntzel, German leaders have at least two other reasons for helping Iran defy the United States. The first is German resentment of defeat in the Second World War followed by foreign occupation, led by the US. The second reason is that Iran is one of the few, if not the only country, where Germans have never been looked at as “war criminals” because of Hitler.
Die Deutschen und der Iran. Geschichte und Gegenwart einer verhängnisvollen Freundschaft
(The Germans and Iran: The History and Present of a Fateful Friendship)
By Matthias Küntzel
WJS Verlag. 352 pages, Hardcover.
As the 5+1 group ends another round of negotiations with Iran, commentators assume that the four Western powers involved — the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany — are united in their determination to curtail Iranian nuclear ambitions. However, in this fascinating book, German scholar Matthias Küntzel argues that Germany’s position on this issue may be closer to that of Russia rather than the United States — with Germany acting as “a shield for Iran against America,” as Germany’s former Foreign Minister Joshcka Fischer described his country.
Matthias Küntzel and his book, The Germans and Iran: The History and Present of a Fateful Friendship.
The reason, according to Küntzel, is the “special relationship” that Iran and Germany have built since 1871, when Germany emerged as a nation-state. Two years after Germany was put on the map as a new country, Nassereddin Shah of Iran arrived in Berlin for a state visit of unprecedented pomp.
It is not hard to see why the two sides warmed up to each other. For over a century Iran had looked for a European power capable of counter-balancing the Russian and British empires that had nibbled at the edges of Iranian territory in pursuit of their colonial ambitions. In 1871, Germany looked like a good ally. As for Germans, they saw Iran as their sole potential ally in a Middle East dominated by Britain and Russia. The friendship was put to the test in the First World War, when Iran refused to join the anti-German axis and suffered as a consequence. With the advent of the Nazi regime, Küntzel shows, a new dimension was added to the Irano-German relationship: the myth of shared Aryan ancestry. In World War II Iran again declared its neutrality, but was invaded by Britain and Russia after refusing to sever relations with Germany.