German foreign minister meets Ahmadinejad

February 22, 2011

TEHRAN - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle held a meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran early on Sunday.

Westerwelle arrived in Tehran on Saturday following the news that the Iranian court commuted the 20-month imprisonment sentence of two German nationals, arrested in 2010, to a fine of around $50,000.
Westerwelle travelled to Iran to secure their release.
Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch - reporters for the German tabloid Bild am Sonntag - who had entered Iran on tourist visas, were arrested in on October 10, 2010 for trying to interview relatives of Sakineh Ashtiani without having obtained journalistic credentials. Ashtiani has been convicted of adultery and murder.
Hellwig and Koch along with Westerwelle left Tehran for Berlin on Sunday.
""I thank my Iranian counterpart (Ali Akbar Salehi) for his helpful support on this issue,"" Westerwelle said in Germany.
Veto right, a disrespect to other nations’ rights
During the meeting with Westerwelle, President Ahmadinejad said the veto right enjoyed by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council sharply contrasts with the rights of other countries.
The United States on Friday vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian land after the Palestinians refused a compromise offer from Washington, Reuters reported.
Ahmadinejad told Westerwelle that the world is in need of a new system and the current system in the world cannot meet the demands of the nations.
All must attempt to reform the global system, he stated, adding Iran and Germany can have good cooperation in this regard.
“… it is expected that Germany will stand by the independent governments and nations,” Ahmadinejad opined.
The German foreign minister stated that his country favors a reform in the UN structure.
The top German diplomat also said it is not fair that the countries of South America, Africa, and Asia do not play active roles in the UN.
Westerwelle added that international issues must be settled through international cooperation and not through conflict.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the German foreign minister said that Berlin is exploring ways to expand cooperation with Tehran in the international arena and strengthen ties with the Islamic Republic.
The two sides also insisted on the need for a campaign against terrorism and drug trafficking.
Germany keen to expand cooperation with Iran
In a joint press with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, Westerwelle said Germany is ready to promote ties with Tehran.
Asked whether the reason behind his travel to Tehran was securing the release of the two German nationals or not, Westerwelle said, “As a foreign minister I am committed to pursue the affairs of my country’s nationals,” but the visit was an opportunity for me to exchange views with the Iranian officials on the regional and international developments.
He also said that he did not travel to Iran on behalf of any international group.
On the reason why Iran’s planes are being denied fuel at German airports, Westerwelle said this issue does not fall within the authority of the German government and the decision was made by the private companies.
However, “I discussed the issue” with the Iranian foreign minister, the minister said.
In his meeting with Salehi, Westerwelle also said all countries have the right to access nuclear technology under the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
He added Germany is keen on the continuation of talks with Iran in this regard