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Germany

Former German Chancellor Brings Clear Message to Iran

While in Tehran, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was set to criticize the Iranian president's denial of the Holocaust and call on Iran to guarantee Israel's security, reported a German newspaper.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Schroeder didn't visit Iran during his 8-year chancellorship

In a speech prepared for delivery to the Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Teheran on Saturday, Feb. 21, Schroeder was set to say, "The Holocaust is a historical fact. It makes no sense to deny this unique crime which Hitler's Germany was responsible for."

The German newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung said it had obtained a copy of the former chancellors' speech on Friday.

Schroeder was also to say in the speech that a regional power which wanted to be taken seriously had to recognize realities, respect international rules and make concessions.

According to the speech draft, Schroeder says he recognizes Iran has its own vital security interests, but that Teheran should guarantee Israel's security, too.

Appeal for US-Iran dialogue

In addition, he was to call for Iran and the United States to enter direct high-level talks about Iran's nuclear research projects. Upon arriving in Tehran on Thursday, he said that he hoped the US and Iran would "choose a new approach." The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 1979.

The ex-chancellor reportedly says he does not object to Iran using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but that it was equally clear that the number of states in possession of nuclear weapons should not increase, and those in possession should disarm.

Schroeder attended on Friday the inauguration of a neuroscience center co-founded by the Germany-based Iranian specialist Majid Samii, a long-time acquaintance who lives in Schroeder's hometown Hanover.

Though the former chancellor had said he would also discuss "political issues" with top Iranian leaders during his four-day visit, he added that he was not bringing any particular message from Washington.

Schroeder served as chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005 and did not visit Iran during that time.

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