Iran has angrily reacted to the designation of Tehran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist group in Germany, but the reaction has been limited regardless of the strongly worded statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani were not observed to react to the designation and the ban on the activities of Hezbollah in Germany on April 30.
In his statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi "strongly condemned the German government’s decision as a measure serving the objectives of the U.S and the Zionist regime of Israel."
According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry's official website, "Mousavi vehemently condemned the German government’s move to accuse the Lebanese Hezbollah of promoting armed struggle with terrorist means."
Mousavi said: “The German government’s decision has been made with a complete disrespect for the Lebanese government and nation, as Hezbollah is an official and legitimate part of that country’s government and parliament and has always been an influential political party in the arena of creating political stability in that country."
Meanwhile, the Iranian official threatened that the German government must be held accountable for the negative consequences of its decision on the fight against the true terrorist groups in the region.”
This comes while Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a major political player, has been silent about the development in the face of international praise Berlin has received for banning Hezbollah's activities in Germany.
German Police closed a number of Hezbollah-linked centers in that country on Thursday. Iran called the measure "a strategic mistake," but the United States, Israel, the Persian Gulf littoral states as well as several other countries welcomed the move.
Previously, Germany had designated Hezbollah's military wing as terrorist but its political wing was free to be active in Germany. The Hezbollah-linked centers were known for fund raising for Hezbollah and anti-Israeli activities during occasions such as the Qods Day, the last Friday of the month of Ramadan.
German security officials estimate that as many as 1,050 people in Germany are part of Hezbollah's extremist wing.
The houses of a number of Hezbollah Sympathizers as well as a few mosques were also searched on Thursday. There is still no report on possible arrests.
Defending the ban on Hezbollah, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the organization has always tried to strike Israeli interests, adding that it does not recognize Israel, furthers terrorist acts and has been continuously reinforcing its rocket arsenal.
Maas said that Germany will use all the legal ways to confront Hezbollah's “criminal and terrorist activities."
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Germany for the ban on Hezbollah and urged other EU countries to follow suit. The U.S. ambassador to Berlin had also praised the German move on Thursday.
Pompeo said that preventing the terrorist organization's capability to plan terrorist attacks and raise money will also lead to a reduction in Iran's subversive acts. Pompeo charged that Hezbollah furthers Iran's evil objectives rather than defending Lebanon as it claims.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz opined that Germany's measure has made the world a safer place. Katz, a former Israeli ambassador in Germany, called on other countries to ban Hezbollah's activities on their soils.
Meanwhile, according to the official Saudi news agency, the Saudi Foreign Ministry has welcomed Berlin's measure and said that it will have positive regional and international implications.
Bahrain has also expressed support for Germany's measure to ban Hezbollah.
After the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, Germany is the third European country to ban Hezbollah's military and political wings as terrorist groups. The EU designated the military wing of Hezbollah as terrorist in 2013 but spared its political wing.
In Latin America Argentina had previously designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and confiscated its assets. Paraguay also designated both the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian group HAMAS as terrorist; and Brazil has said it is planning a similar measure.