German Companies Silent on Iran’s Holocaust Denial Following Call to Cease Business

Advocacy group calls on major companies to shun business with Iran's holocaust denying regime

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Getty Images
April 27, 2017

A cadre of German companies seeking to engage in business with Iran is remaining silent in the face of calls by an international advocacy group to shun working with the Islamic Republic until it disavows its institutionalized anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel.

United Against Nuclear Iran, or UANI, has petitioned more than a dozen major German companies, asking them to sign a declaration promising to not do business with Iran until its leadership stops denying the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

The declaration, which was sent to the companies ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, has not been signed by a single German company thus far, according to UANI, which has advocated against doing business with Iran since the landmark nuclear agreement was signed.

Iranian leaders continue to deny the Holocaust, calling it a myth, and have publicized efforts in recent years to mock the Holocaust through an international Holocaust denial cartoon contest.

UANI maintains that no German company should engage in business with a nation that wholly denies the Holocaust, particularly in light of Germany’s chief role in the systematic murder of more than six million Jews.

"The Iranian government has institutionalized a culture of anti-Semitism, which is built upon three intertwined tenets: (1) The demonization of Zionists and Jews, (2) advocacy for the destruction of the State of Israel, and (3) Holocaust denial," UANI wrote in a letter sent to leading companies, including Allianz, Volkswagen, Siemens, and several others.

"Holocaust denial, in particular, is a core fountainhead of Iran’s modern anti-Semitism that is domestically endorsed and internationally exported," the letter states.

These companies should be cognizant that doing business with Iran legitimizes the country and helps to mainstream anti-Semitic behavior, according to UANI.

"UANI recognizes that your company does not condone the practice of Holocaust denial," it states in the letters. "However, we do believe that doing business in Iran offers important financial succor to the Iranian regime and helps to perpetuate its ongoing practices of Holocaust denial, revisionism and trivialization."

The declaration calls on these companies to cease business ties with the Islamic Republic.

The declaration goes on to state that the German businesses will not "engage in any activity of any kind (including commercial or business activity, such as, for example, the provision, exchange, or receipt of goods or services, or investment activity) in Iran or with any Iranian-based business anywhere in the world."

It also asks that these companies not open any factories, own property, or be a party of any agreement with Iranian businesses and government entities, including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, which owns a large number of business in Iran.

David Ibsen, UANI’s president, told the Washington Free Beacon he is "deeply troubled that no company has yet signed on to the declaration."

These companies, Ibsen said, "have voluntarily signed up ​for a German initiative acknowledging complicity of German industry in the Holocaust. And yet they are apparently ignoring an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to defend the memory of the millions of lives destroyed by the Third Reich."

"Rather they are reportedly pursuing business with a state that inscribes its missiles with ‘Death to Israel’, arms terror proxies dedicated to Israel’s destruction and supports an annual cartoon contest dedicated to mocking, trivializing and denying that historical tragedy," he said.

The declaration is just one part of a larger campaign by UANI to warn international businesses and investors about the dangers of doing business with Iran, which is still the top state-sponsor of terrorism.

"Given the complicity of German industry in the Holocaust and its subsequent commendable effort to make amends, any decision to engage with a regime that denies the Holocaust and chants Death to Israel appears contradictory and also carries considerable reputational and moral risk," Ibsen said.