US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. ©Sylvain Gaboury / Getty Images
On his first day as US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell has been accused of crossing the line of diplomacy and offending his host nation by telling German businesses to get out of Iran immediately.
Just hours after he was sworn in, and following the breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal, the new US ambassador tweeted that German companies should “wind down” in the Arab nation before its economy is hit by sanctions.
Ambassador Richard Grenell presented his credentials to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace. pic.twitter.com/QF3jQfeW2S
— US-Botschaft Berlin (@usbotschaft) May 8, 2018
Good luck to Ric Grenell, our new Ambassador to Germany. A great and talented guy, he will represent our Country well!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
“US Sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy,” Grenell said. “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”
As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 8, 2018
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But the tone of Grenell’s message has not gone down well, with some online commentators accusing the diplomat of being arrogant and lacking the necessary tact.
New US ambassador to Germany loses no time in exercising the subtle art of diplomacy https://t.co/tc6VghpYgi
— François Heisbourg (@FHeisbourg) May 8, 2018
One of Germany’s top diplomats tutors the new US Ambassador to Germany https://t.co/ySOHk3Q1hV
— Julianne Smith (@Julie_C_Smith) May 9, 2018
So, the new US Ambassador to Germany is already giving unwanted advice to “German companies doing business in Iran” … Mr Grenell, is this your understanding of diplomacy? #IranDeal#NuclearDealhttps://t.co/3HY9DQa4xr
— Sandra Petersmann (@PetersmannS) May 8, 2018
Former German ambassador to the US and UK Wolfgang Ischinger advised the newly appointed diplomat against ordering a host country around.
“Explain your own country’s policies, and lobby the host country – but never tell the host country what to do, if you want to stay out of trouble,” Ischinger tweeted.
Ric: my advice, after a long ambassadorial career: explain your own country’s policies, and lobby the host country – but never tell the host country what to do, if you want to stay out of trouble. Germans are eager to listen, but they will resent instructions.
— Wolfgang Ischinger (@ischinger) May 9, 2018
A German industry group, BDI, said they could not understand the reasoning behind the demand from Grenell.
“German industry criticizes the extraterritorial application of sanctions, as envisaged by the United States,” a BDI statement said.
„Für amerikanischen Appell, dass dt. Unternehmen ihr Geschäft im #Iran sofort zurückfahren sollten, haben wir kein Verständnis. Die dt. #Industrie kritisiert die völkerrechtswidrige extraterritoriale Anwendung von #Sanktionen, wie sie den USA vorschwebt.“ – #Kempf zu #IranDeal
— BDI (@Der_BDI) May 9, 2018
German Green Party MP Omid Nouripour gave Grenell a welcome online, but not before laying into his tweet about German businesses.
Welcome to our country, Sir. I’m looking forward to a good cooperation.
Btw: This excludes threatening german companies for a policy announced by your president, ignoring core security interests of Europe. #savetheirandeal#savethedeal#saveJCPOAhttps://t.co/d0wJxk19Et
— Omid Nouripour (@nouripour) May 8, 2018
The leader of the German Social Democratic, Andrea Nahles, was also among Grenell’s critics, suggesting that the new Trump pick needed to learn more about diplomacy.
“It’s not my task to teach people about the fine art of diplomacy, especially not the US ambassador. But he does appear to need some tutoring,” Nahles said, as reported by Zeit Online.
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