German INSTEX chief ‘forced to resign’ after criticizing Israel
Bernd Erbel, who was recently appointed to head Europe’s trade mechanism with Iran, known as INSTEX, has been reportedly forced to resign after a German newspaper accused Germany's former ambassador to Tehran of supporting “anti-Semitism,” criticizing Zionist regime and supporting Iran’s missile program.
Germany's best-selling newspaper Bild on Thursday reported “He was forced to resign, the German diplomat will not assume office any longer.”
Bild announced the resignation a day after allegedly requesting the German Foreign Ministry to issue a statement regarding two recent interviews where Erbel made the controversial comments.
A spokesman for the foreign ministry informed the newspaper on Thursday that Erbel had resigned from the position “for personal reasons.” Bild described the resignation as being "forced," nonetheless.
“The Foreign Office was not aware of the interviews. Erbel has not yet addressed the issue as an employee of the house,” a spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry told Bild.
The resignation came shortly after Erbel was appointed to lead INSTEX earlier this month.
The long-anticipated INSTEX trade mechanism has been designed by the European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to shield the Iranian economy from unilateral US sanctions which were imposed last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement. The system has yet to become fully operational.
Nearly a month ago, Erbel gave two interviews to Ken Jebsen, a German television and radio presenter who has already been accused of being an “anti-Semite” and a “Holocaust denier.”