Irritated Iran erects a tit-for-tat plaque to spite Berlin

Thursday, May 13, 2004,Page 6

Iranian authorities will erect a plaque outside the German embassy tomorrow denouncing Germany's contribution to former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's chemical-weapons arsenal, in the latest tit-for-tat measure in a diplomatic spat between Berlin and Iran's clerical leaders, the official IRNA news agency said.

Tehran's conservative-controlled municipality gave the order on April 27 to put up the plaque, in a direct response to the unveiling the week before of a plaque in Berlin denouncing Iran for the 1992 murders there of four Kurdish dissidents.

"We will put up the plaque to commemorate the chemical-weapons victims in front of the German embassy on Friday," city council head Mehdi Chamran was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The ceremony will be attended by the members of the Tehran City Council, the government and military officials and veterans of the bloody 1980-1988 war against Iraq who were victims of chemical weapons.

Chamran added that the purpose of the plaque was to "support the chemical-weapons victims and to condemn the German government who sold the technology and the weapons of mass destruction to the Baathist regime of Saddam."

"Germany and the other oppressing countries are collectively responsible for these crimes and we want the Germans to ask questions of their government," Chamran added.

He also insisted that, "the German government must apologize to the Iranian nation, especially to the victims of the chemical weapons and their families."

Nearly a month ago, local officials in Berlin's Charlottenburg district unveiled a plaque marking the 1992 attack in the Mykonos restaurant.

It carries the victims' names and the words: "Murdered by the then regime in Iran. They died fighting for freedom and human rights."

A German court concluded in 1997 that the killers of the four Iranian Kurds were acting on Tehran's orders.

The decision prompted the German government to recall its ambassador and the EU to suspend dialogue with the Islamic republic for a year.©PDKI  All Rights Reserved.