Germany and Iran
*THIS BOOK PRESENTS IMPORTANT NEW FINDINGS+
Prof. Joseph S. Spoerl, in: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, May 27, 2016
This publication is an English translation of a book which was first published in German in 2009, with an epilogue penned by the author in May 2014. Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold focuses on German-Iranian relations from the time of Kaiser Wilhelm (1859-1941) to the present, culminating in a treatment of the Iranian nuclear program and Germany’s shameful role in shielding it from sanctions. Matthias Küntzel is uniquely qualified to write this book. The subject of his doctoral dissertation was the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and he has published extensively on Germany’s position vis-à-vis nuclear proliferation. Küntzel is also a student of Islamist ideology and its disturbing incorporation of extreme Jew-hatred as a central doctrine. This book presents important new findings based on the author’s research in German and American archives.
Küntzel begins with Kaiser Wilhelm’s policy of cultivating Muslim allies in a bid to cause trouble for Germany’s enemies: Britain, France, and Russia, each of which ruled over large numbers of Muslims. Traditionally suspicious of Russia and Britain, the dominant powers to its north and south, respectively, from the outset, Iran was very receptive to German overtures. Germany’s loss in World War I did not cool Iranian ardor for all things German, and in the interwar years, Germany became Iran’s main supplier of industrial technology and technical expertise.
“The coming to power of Adolph Hitler,” Küntzel writes, “in no way hindered these expanding ties. On the contrary, not only was the Shah delighted, but a large section of the Iranian intelligentsia and business community also sympathized with National Socialism.” (23) In late 1934, at the urging of the Iranian ambassador to Berlin, the Shah banned the name “Persia” and insisted that the name “Iran” or “land of the Aryans” be used exclusively. Hitler reciprocated by exempting the “Aryan” Iranians from the Nuremberg racial laws. To this day, German visitors to Iran are reminded enthusiastically by Iranians that Germany and Iran share “a common Aryan heritage.” (27)
On August 25, 1941, Soviet and British troops invaded and occupied Iran, which provided the vital land bridge across which American-made war materiel was shipped to the USSR. This invasion reinforced Iranian mistrust of Britain and Russia, and of the Americans who aided those two countries and became their ally and did nothing to diminish the already strong Iranian sympathy for Germany. Küntzel cites the reporting of German journalist Christiane Hoffmann and others to the effect that in the twenty-first century, many Iranians still express “unconcealed admiration…for Hitler.” (7) While many Iranians accepted jobs with the British and Americans who were moving cargo to the USSR, many others assisted German agents in efforts to sabotage the Allied efforts in Iran.
After the Second World War, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, West Germany quickly re-established commercial ties with Iran, and with great success. Once again, Germany became Iran’s most important trading partner. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power did not stop West Germany from jealously protecting and fostering its trade relations with Iran. Küntzel describes in scathing detail the repeated failure of successive West German governments to impose any meaningful sanctions restricting trade with Iran; indeed, he points out that, for decades, Germany facilitated its trade with Iran by means of export credit guarantees, even as Iran held U.S. diplomats hostage and became the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Similarly, Germany repeatedly resisted any effort by the U.S. to impose tough sanctions on Iran, generally siding with Iran, China, and Russia against the U.S. An American reading this book is left wondering: With friends like Germany, who needs enemies?
Most damning of all is Küntzel’s documentation of the German ruling elite’s almost complete indifference to the antisemitic rhetoric of Iranian leaders, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (president of Iran from 2005 to 2013). Unlike his countrymen, Küntzel recognizes and is appropriately horrified by the clearly genocidal implications of Iranian words and policies vis-à-vis Israel. How could the Germans, of all people, be so blind? Economics alone cannot explain it, since Iran has never represented more than a small fraction of German exports.
A clue can be found in the biography of the left-wing Green Party politician Joschka Fischer, who would become Foreign Minister under the Social Democratic Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Fischer was a firebrand student activist in the 1960s and 1970s who, like many on the left, was anti-Western and pro-Third World. In 1979 he “hailed Khomeini’s uprising not only for striking a blow against Westernization in Iran, but also as a call to arms against the Western way of life as a whole.” (123) As Foreign Minister, Fischer would become one of the staunchest European opponents of the Bush Administration and its war in Iraq. In September 2004, Foreign Minister Fischer made this astonishing statement: “We Europeans have constantly advised our Iranian partners in their own well-founded interest to view us as their protective shield.” (210) Kȕntzel interprets this statement as follows: “Europe as the shield between Iran and America: not to protect the United States from the Islamists, but the Islamists from the United States. Such a metaphor could only occur to someone who sees America as the adversary and the Khomeinist revolution as meriting protection.” (210) (A sobering thought: Barack Obama appears to have a biography and a world view quite similar to that of Joschka Fischer.)
Küntzel poses the question: Why has Germany apparently chosen to take an Iranian nuclear bomb in stride rather than accept a break in German-Iranian relations? One possibility is that Germany’s foreign policy elite thinks it is in Germany’s interest to maintain an alliance with a nuclear Iran because it would also mean the destruction of American hegemony in the Middle East. That is “multipolarity at any price.” (227) A second possibility is that German policy makers are not really thinking clearly but viewing Iranian nuclear policy through rose-colored glasses and drifting along with the general anti-American bias of the German populace that sees the United States as a greater danger to world peace than Iran. What really matters, from this point of view, is that the Americans not be allowed to start another war in Middle East: Iran must not become a second Iraq. (229)
Whether one accepts the first theory or the second is irrelevant: “in both cases Israeli security interests are overridden, in both cases there is a refusal to draw the necessary conclusions from Nazi history; in both cases the Iranian opponents of the regime are ignored.” (230)
Küntzel’s book demonstrates a deeply disturbing truth, namely, that if Iran should acquire nuclear weapons and use them to commit a second Holocaust against the six million Jews of Israel, then Germany – the nation that committed the first Holocaust – will have played a central role in paving the way for the Iranian perpetrators.
Matthias Küntzel, Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold, translated by Colin Meade. Candor, NY: Telos Press Publishing, 2014. 274 + xiii pp. ISBN 9780914386001
See the original review here
Soli Shahvar, Director of the “Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Golf Studies”, University of Haifa, in:
Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, 2015
One of Küntzel’s more important contributions to our understanding of the German–Iranian relationship is his analysis of the post-war period, from the second Pahlavi kingship to present-day Iran. That, in turn, can be divided into two sub-periods: one spanning the time from the end of World War II to the fall of the Pahlavi (and monarchial) regime, and the other, the period of the Islamic Republic. In this examination, the author makes extensive use of a range of primary sources (such as various archives, official publications, and newspapers). This period has only received meager attention from English-speaking researchers, and even German ones have been deficient in this regard. Significantly, what research does exist is largely unpublished. . . .
Küntzel’s book is an important addition to the literature on German–Iranian relations. It offers a fresh analysis that sheds new light on previously researched issues, but also contains new and important topics of discussion. In looking at his country’s relations with Iran, Küntzel manages to highlight quite clearly “the German way,” which is independent, and not necessarily in line with the policies of the US or other Western countries. His book is one of the many important studies being written and published in languages other than English, thus rendering them practically inaccessible to a vast readership. It is our good fortune that this book is among the relatively few that have been translated.
Read the full review here
Frank Nikbakht, head of the Los Angeles based Committee for Minority Rights in Iran, A TIMELY AND EXCEPTIONEL MUST READ
As a long time researcher on Anti Semitism in Iran, I can say that Kuntzel has brilliantly exposed the missing links between the Nazis and the Mullahs. At a time when the Iranian leaders are trying to deceive the world by portraying themselves as protectors of minorities (!) – minorities who have escaped Iran to the tune of 80-90% since the Islamic Revolution- this book should be read by all those interested in Iran, Shiite Islam, Middle Eastern Jews and Islamist anti Semitism. The nuclear links and the IRI’s intentions and deceptions, are also researched and presented here in a way that no one else has. It is sad to find this book being boycotted by those world players who have an interest in empowering the Iranian Islamic Republic. Get it! Read it!
amazon.com, June 16, 2015
Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland, MATTHIAS KUENTZEL ON GERMANY, IRAN AND THE BOMB, in: The Times of Israel, April 26, 2015.
In the last post, I mentioned Matthias Kuentzel’s Germany and Iran: From the Aryan Axis to the Nuclear Threshold. It should be of interest to anyone interested Germany’s role in the Iran nuclear issue. The book was published in Germany in 2009 and in the United States in 2014.
The American edition, published in 2014, includes an epilogue that deals with the nuclear negotiations up to 2013. Kuentzel is also the author of Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Nazism, Islamism and the Roots of 9/11, which was published in Germany in 2002 and in the United States in 2007. That work remains an important contribution to tracing the ideological lineages from Nazism, through Islamism to the Islamist terror of recent years.
In 2007, I was invited to speak at the 35th Annual Römerberg Conversations in Frankfurt/Main. The annual event brings scholars and intellectuals together to address events of the day. The title of my remarks was “What does coming to terms with the past in the Berlin Republic mean in 2007?” I evoked Theodor Adorno, the renowned theorist of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. He who wrote that the most important answer to that famous question and to the meaning of what the Germans call Vergangenheitsbewältigung was to prevent another mass murder of the Jews. My guess is that if Adorno were alive today, he might very well have found Kuentzel’s writings of recent years about Islamism and now about the Islamic Republic of Iran to be very much in the spirit of Vergangenheitsbewälktigung, that is, politically consequential coming to terms with the crimes of the Nazi past which has clear political and moral implications for our own time.
In Germany and Iran Kuentzel is one of those German intellectuals who do what they can to see that the worst does not happen. He argues that for the last century there has been a special relationship between Germany and Iran from the Kaiser Reich during World War I through the “Aryan Axis” under the Nazis in World War II and then to the economic and political ties under the Shah during the Cold War. These connections continued in attenuated form after 1979 when Ruhollah Khomenei seized the 1979 revolution and installed an Islamic Republic in Tehran. Kuentzel is one of those German intellectuals of the post-Hitler era, from Karl Bracher in the 1960s and 1970s to Richard Herzinger in recent years, who take the ideas of extremists very seriously. They look into the heart of darkness that was the Nazi regime and conclude that murderous threats to the Jews can happen again elsewhere in different cultural contexts. Today, Herzinger and others, write against the current of our era of euphemism regarding Islamism and Islamist Iran that finds advocates in Washington but also in Berlin.
Kuentzel reminds us that the young Ruhollah Khomenei found inspiration from Hassan al-Banna, the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and from the Brotherhood’s leading ideologue Sayyid Qutb. One of al-Banna’s contributions to world culture was the statement “You love life and we [in the Muslim Brotherhood] love death!” Kuentzel recalls a Khomenei speech of 1963. “Why,” Khomenei asked, “does SAVAK [the Shah’s political police] say that we shall not speak of the Shah and Israel? Does SAVAK mean that the Shah is an Israeli? Does SAVAK consider the Shah to be a Jew? Shall I declare you, Mr. Shah, to be a heathen so that you are chased out of this country?”
His discussion of The Islamic State, a collection of lectures Khomenei delivered in 1970, documents the Supreme Leader’s vicious hatred of the Jews and of Israel, hatreds that were part of his opposition to the Shah. As was the case with Islamists such as Haj Amin al-Husseini and Sayyid Qutb before him, Khomenei believed that hatred of the Jews was well founded in the Koran. The Islamic State, a widely read text after 1979 in Iran, was “full of anti-semitic invective.” He wrote that “it is the Jews who were the first to begin with anti-Islamic propaganda and ideological conspiracies. And that continues, as you see, to the present day…the Jews and their foreign accomplices are fundamentally hostile to Islam.”
Kuentzel reminds us of the wishful thinking and neglect of ideological motivation in the US government in the early days of the Iranian revolution. It is recalled by Michael Ledeen and William Lewis in Debacle, their account of American policy towards Iran. Because the era of euphemism is very much with us, it is worth quoting Ledeen and Lewis:
There was considerable consternation and disgruntlement in the State Department and the CIA when three American newspapers published extensive accounts of Khomeini’s writings. The articles showed that Khomeini’s books revealed him as a violently anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic individual, who offered an unattractive alternative to the Shah. Yet as late as the first week in February 1979, when Khomeini was returning in triumph to Tehran, Henry Precht [the head of the State Department’s Iran desk] told an audience of some two hundred persons at the State Department ‘open forum’ meeting that the newspaper accounts were severely misleading, and he went so far as to accuse Washington Post editorial columnist Stephen Rosenfeld of wittingly disseminating excerpts from a book that Precht considered at best a collection of notes taken by students, and at worst a forgery. Precht was hardly an isolated case, for the conviction was widespread that Khomeini’s books were either false, exaggerated, or misunderstood. Michael Ledeen and William Lewis, Debacle (New York., 1980), pp. 129-30.
Thus the State Department and the CIA defended their false picture of Khomeini against all intrusion of reality. Remarkably, somewhat later, the CIA asked Rosenfeld if he could lend the agency the edition of the book he had cited, since it did not have its own copy.
Yet Kuentzel’s focus is far more on German than American misunderstanding of the nature of the Islamic Republic. After thirty years of the Islamic Republic, there is no excuse for repeating the blunders of our State Department and CIA in 1979. Yet, Kuentzel quotes prominent German national security analysts seeking to allay fears about the prospect of an Iranian bomb. In April 2007, Udo Steinbach, former director of the German Oriental Institute said “If Iran in the foreseeable future were to have nuclear weapons, it is not ipso facto therefore a threat.” In 2008, Volker Pertes, the director of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, an influential national security think tank, wrote that “an Iranian nuclear bomb…would not be an ‘Islamic bomb,’ but an instrument for the defense of the Islamic Republic’s national interests.” Kuentzel’s view of the equanimity of these German analysts recalls aspects of Michael Doron’s previously discussed analysis of the Obama administration’s policy of engagement. In the German discussion, respected figures in the foreign policy establishment have made the case publicly for a policy of containment and deterrence of Iran once it has the bomb.
Kuentzel concludes that a policy that “seeks to integrate Iran into a strategic partnership is flawed for several reasons.” He finds it
naïve, because it ignores the hostile foreign policy interests of Shiite Islamism. It is unrealistic, because religious totalitarianism cannot be harnessed for secular ends. It is arrogant” because it “assumes that Iranians are neither ready nor capable of living in freedom and democracy. It is morally untenable, because it shamefully betrays the Western world’s most threatened country—Israel.” [Emphasis added.]
Germany and Iran is a book that deserves a wide readership among all of those engaged in the discussion about Iran and the bomb.
Amir Taheri, an Iranian journalist and book author, IRAN AND GERMANY: A 100-YEAR OLD LOVE AFFAIR
published on July 31, 2014, http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
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.
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.
Iranians had always regarded themselves as heirs to an Aryan identity, asserted in bas reliefs dating back to more than 2500 years ago. The Achaemenid King of Kings, Darius, describes himself as “Aryan son of an Aryan”. The very name of the country, Iran, means “the land of Aryans.” The idea of Germans as Aryans, however, dates back to the 19th century and the rise of nationalism in Europe. Then, writers such as Herder and Schlegel claimed that Germans were descendants of original Aryan tribes somewhere in Asia, splitting into several groups moving into India, Iran and Europe. (Much later, the Irish also claimed they were Aryans and named their newly-created republic Eire, which means land of Aryans.)
In the 1930s, Alfred Rosenberg, one of Hitler’s philosophers, published “The Myth of the Twentieth Century”, a book in which he claimed that the torch of Aryanism had passed from Iranians to Germans. The reason was that Iranians had been “corrupted” by Islam and mixed with “inferior races” such as Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. Thus, in 1936, when the Third Reich wanted to publish its official list of “superior” and “inferior” races, there was some debate regarding the place to be assigned to Iranians. In the end raison d’etat prevailed and Iran was declared an “Aryan nation”.
However, that was not the end of story. The Iranian government demanded that the Reich recognize all citizens of Iran, including Jews, as “Aryans”. That demand provoked anger among Nazi officials charged with the “elimination” of Jews.
Küntzel shows that Adolf Eichmann insisted that Iran’s Jews, numbering over 60,000 at the time, be listed and rounded up by the Iranian authorities. Tehran rejected that demand and even went further by issuing visas to hundreds of German Jews who wished to leave the Reich. (The Iranian embassy in Paris did the same for hundreds of French Jews).
The “Aryan” myth was a source of major misunderstanding between Tehran and Berlin.
To Iranians, the term “Aryan” was cultural not racial; anybody who partook of Iranian culture could claim to be Aryan. One of ancient Iran’s most famous queens, Esther, was Jewish. The maternal grandfather of Rustam, the mythical hero of Iran’s national epic “Shahnameh” (The Book of Kings), was the Arab Zahhak. The late Ayatollah Khomeini boasted of his partially Arab ancestry by claiming to be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
To Germans, however, Aryanism was a racial concept linked to blood and biology. The Nazis published supposedly scientific texts about the shape of the heads of “superior” and “inferior” races, the color of hair and eyes and the various shades of skin tan.
The misunderstanding continues even today.
In 1986, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the mullah who served as President of the Islamic Republic, wrote a letter to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl emphasizing “our common Aryan roots.” Kohl’s Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel liked to speak of “our joint heritage and a 100-year alliance”.
In 2009 in a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that the Irano-German “alliance, broken by the Allies in 1941” should be revived. Remarkably, German leaders did not bother to disown Hitler and distance themselves from the murderous myths spun by Nazis.
In the past 50 years or so, the “special relationship” between Iran and Germany has been highlighted in numerous ways. The first German industrial fair held in a foreign country after the Second World War was hosted by Tehran in 1960 with Economy Minister Ludwig Erhard leading a delegation of over 100 German businessmen. After that, all German Chancellors, starting with Konrad Adenauer, made a point of visiting Iran until the fall of the Shah. Even after the mullahs seized power, Germans pursued the special relationship through high-level visits, including that of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The only time the German Federal parliament approved a law unanimously was when it enacted legislation to guarantee investments in Iran.
Some critics claim that the Germans are attached to Iran for purely economic reasons.
Küntzel shows this not to be the case. As the world’s number-one exporter, Germany has little need of Iran, which represented less than half of one per cent of all German exports in 2013. Nor is Germany a major importer of oil or anything else from Iran.
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. That resentment cannot be publicly expressed, if only because Germany is a member of NATO and needed US protection against Russia, an even more dangerous enemy, during the Cold War. If Iran thumbs its nose at the US, so much the better.
The second reason is that Iran is one of the few countries, if not the only one, where Germans have never been looked at as “war criminals” because of Hitler. For over 100 years, Germany has been the favorite European power of most Iranians. Germans reciprocate the sentiment by having a good opinion of Iran. Küntzel cites a number of opinion polls that show a majority of Germans regard the US and Israel, rather than Iran, as the biggest threat to world peace.
Küntzel also asserts that Germans are fed up with being constantly reminded of Hitler’s crimes and beaten on the head with what Martin Walser, one of Germany’s most famous writers, calls “the Holocaust cudgel.” Walser says: “The motives of those holding up our disgrace stem not from a desire to keep alive the idea of the impermissibility of forgetting but rather to exploit our disgrace for their present purposes.”
That the Holocaust never attracted popular attention in Iran is a relief to many Germans. “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have repeatedly asserted that Holocaust never happened. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has disputed the figure of six million Jews killed by Hitler, putting the number at “around 20,000”. Former President Muhammad Khatami claims that “the facts of the situation have not been independently verified and established.”
Finally, the Iranian nuclear dossier provides Germany with an opportunity to play in the diplomatic big leagues. In economic terms, Germany is a bigger power than Britain, France, Russia and China. And, yet, it has no place in the Security Council. The 5+1 formula creates a parallel Security Council in which Germany has a decisive say. The exercise could become a precedent for other international initiatives in which Germany is treated as a member of the “big powers club.”
Küntzel cites another possible reason for Germany’s attempts at helping Iran maintain its nuclear program with a minimum of modifications. In the 1990s, Germany tried to develop a clandestine nuclear program, very much like what Iran had been doing, by developing two sites closed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the time, President Bill Clinton forced the Germans to shut the program by threatening them with sanctions, a similar tactic used against Iran so far without success.
With the United States in global retreat under President Barack Obama, Germany is beginning to assert its independent personality: It is in neither Western nor Eastern camps, Küntzel shows. It is at the center of a new “political pole” in Europe.
Küntzel’s book is of special interest for the glimpse it offers into what many German politicians and scholars feel and think in silence.
A recent official German report states: “The Federal Republic has no evidence showing that Iran’s nuclear program has a military aspect.” That may explain, at least in part, Berlin’s ambiguous position during the 5+1 negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Originally written in German, Küntzel’s book is also available in an excellent Persian version and is due for publication in English as well.
This review is based on the Persian version of the book.
Roya Hakakian, author of Assassins of the Turquoise Palace and Journey from the Land of No
“Germany and Iran by Matthias Küntzel is possibly the most important and comprehensive book on the modern history of the two countries. In his intelligent perspective, no stone remains unturned.”
Jeffrey Herf, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland
“Matthias Küntzel is one German intellectual who unflinchingly looks into the heart of darkness that is Khomeini’s legacy and hears echoes of the murderous Jew-hatred and fanaticism of Germany’s past. This fine book should be widely read by government officials, political leaders, journalists, think tank analysts, scholars, and citizens who want a better understanding of the Germany’s considerable impact on the Iranian issue.”
Shimon Stein, Former Ambassador of Israel in Germany (2001–7) and currently Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University
“There are not too many experts who are as qualified as Matthias Küntzel to deal with a fascinating subject as the German-Iranian relationship. This book is an essential contribution to the ongoing discussion.”
Dr. Jack Caravelli, Former White House National Security Council Staff
“Some would believe the current Iranian government is more moderate and ‘outward looking’ than its predecessors. Küntzel’s study gives us ample warning, based on history, that Iran is playing the long game with regard only for the advancement of its own interests. This should be on any short list of ‘must read’ books on the subject.”
Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Professor of English and Jewish Studies, Indiana University
“Matthias Küntzel is one of Germany’s most astute observers of Iran, and his detailed account of his country’s special relationship with Iran is as definitive as any we have been given to date. Anyone interested in learning more about Iran’s nuclear program and its global role in fostering hostility to America and Israel will find this book invaluable.”
Andrei S. Markovits, Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
“This book is important because its author argues passionately, but also persuasively, that on all major vectors influencing politics and policy—culture, religion, history, myth making, symbolism, and, of course, the economy—Germany’s relationship to the United States concerning all things Iran is much closer to that of an ornery rival, perhaps even a determined opponent, than an ally in any meaningful sense of that term.”
Ambassador Dore Gold, President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and Former Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
“Matthias Küntzel makes it clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy toward Israel is rooted in a deep, historical anti-Semitism that makes it nothing less than an existential threat to the Jewish people.”