Germany rejects accusation of cosying up to Iran over journalists
Germany on Monday rejected accusations by an Iranian human rights activist of being too soft with Teheran in its efforts to free two German journalists arrested more than 80 days ago, dpa reported.
"This cozy diplomacy has to end," exiled Iranian dissident Mina Ahadi told daily Berliner Zeitung on Monday.
She said Germany must demand the release of the journalists, who were arrested on October 10 in the northwestern city of Tabriz.
"We cannot relate to this judgement," government spokesman Christoph Steegmans retorted, adding that Chancellor Angela Merkel was doing everything "to be helpful in this difficult matter."
The reporter and photographer, who entered Iran on tourist visas, had sought to interview the son and the lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and involvement in her husband's murder.
"The German government is unambiguously campaigning outwardly and in internal talks for the quickest possible return of the two Germans to Germany," Steegmans said.
Ahadi said Mohammadi-Ashtiani was most likely pressured into her recent decision to sue the journalists for exploiting her case. If this were true, the detained Germans could expect a long trial, Ahadi added.