German Parliament is 1% Iranian!
Germany’s Bundestag (Parliament) who were running for re-election this year have won again, and two other Iranian-Germans have been elected for the first time. That means almost 1 percent of the German Bundestag is made up of Iranian-Germans.
The six come from four different parties out of the six parties that won seats in the September 26 national elections.
Three of the six were born in Tehran and emigrated to Germany as children. Two others were born in Germany to Iranian fathers and German mothers.
The sixth was born in Germany to Iranian parents who had left Iran.
The two re-elected men are their parties’ spokesmen on foreign affairs—the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party. Both
parties are likely to be part of the coalition that will end up taking power as a result of the September elections. So, there is a chance one of them will become foreign minister.
There is no longer any Iranian elected from the right-of-center Christian Democratic Union (CDU) that was led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. But for two decades until the September election, Michaela Tajdadod Noll, whose mother was German
and father was banker Mostafa Tajdadod, an economy minister
during the monarchy, served in the Bundestag with the CDU. But she chose not to run for reelection
There is and was no Iranian from the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), which is not surprising; it is an ultra-right party that rose to prominence by its strong—some would say vicious— opposition to immigrants.
The winners from the other four parties are:
Yasmin Fahimi, 53, from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), was re-elected from a constituency in Hanover, where she was born. Her father died in an auto accident before she was born so she was raised with little ط ظlinkage to Iran. She joined the SPD as a teenager and rose rapidly through its ranks, holding many party offices. She eventually became the General Secretary of the party in 2014-15 before running for election to the Bundestag and winning in 2017.
She is a member of the leftist faction of the party. Her main interests are in labor and social issues.
Bijan Djir-Sarai, 45, from the Free Democratic Party (FDP), was re-elected from North Rhine-Westphalia, the
most populous state in Germany. Born in Tehran, his parents sent him to live with an uncle in Germany when he was 11 and the Iran-Iraq War was raging. He eventually graduated from the University of Cologne and stayed in Germany. He won a seat in the Bundestag with the FDP, which is a classic European liberal party emphasizing free enterprise and civil liberties but not social services. He was first elected in 2009, lost his seat in 2013, won it back in 2017 and was re-elected last month. He has always served on the Committee on Foreign Relations and has been his party’s spokesman
on foreign affairs in the outgoing Bundestag. He advocates designating Hezbollah as a terrorist
organization and has called on the German government to take a tougher stand on China to avoid becoming “dependent” on China for technology such as artificial intelligence and 5G. He came under considerable criticism when a review of his doctoral thesis suggested significant parts were plagiarized and the University of Cologne withdrew his doctoral degree in 2012.
Sahra Wagenknecht, 52, from Der Linke (The Left), which is the reincarnation of the old Communist Party that used to rule in East Germany. Wagenknecht was born in Jena in East Germany and has risen to be one of the senior and most powerful members of Der Linke. She was the co-leader of Der Linke in the Bundestag for the two-year 2015-17 term. She joined the Communist Party in East Germany a few years before that state collapsed. She was raised largely by her German grandparents until she was seven when she and her German mother moved to East Berlin, so she has had limited ties to her Iranian side of the family. Named Sarah at birth, she chose, however, as an adult to change her name to Sahra. Her master’s thesis in 1996 was on the young Karl Marx’s interpretation of Hegel. She was first elected to the Bundestag in 2009. She lists herself as an atheist. She is a far leftist even by the standards of Der Linke, but at the same time has opposed mass immigration, saying it hurts the German working classes.
Omid Nouripour, 46, of the Green Party, won re-election in a constituency in Frankfurt am Main. Born in Tehran in 1975, his family moved to Germany in 1988 when he was 13. He attended the University of Mainz but did not earn a degree. He was first elected to the Bundestag from the state of Hesse in 2006 and is now the Green Party’s spokesman on foreign affairs. In 2012, he proposed that Germany help Iran develop renewable energy resources as an alternative to it having a nuclear power program.
Also starting in 2012, he became a vocal supporter of Nasrin Sotoudeh and her human rights activities in Iran. He has been a rare voice in the Bundestag critical of Israel and its policies on Palestinians.
One of the newly elected members is Kaweh Mansoori, 33, a candidate from the Social Democratic Party, who was beaten last month by Nouripour. But the Bundestag contains both members elected from constituencies and from party lists so that the party membership in the Bundestag equates the votes each party gets nationally. While Mansoori lost to Nouripour in the constituency vote, he won a seat on the SPD list from Hesse. Mansoori’s parents came to Germany shortly after the revolution and Mansoori was born in Germany.
The other newly elected
Bundestag member is Parsa Marvi, 39, who was born in Tehran in 1982 and came to Germany with his family a few years later. He is also a member of the SPD. He was elected last month to the Bundestag from Berlin. He is currently a member of the Berlin City Council.
In the outgoing Bundestag, 8 percent of the members were either immigrants or had at least one parent who was an immigrant. The six Iranians who served in the outgoing Bundestag (German-born Niema Movasat of Der Linke also decided not to run for re-election) comprised almost 1 percent of the 709 Bundestag members. The new Bundestag has 735 members, so the six Iranian members comprise almost 1 percent of the total Bundestag membership.