Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim is hoping to take one of Germany's top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert, the Berlin State Opera said Thursday, drawing outrage from Israel.
Barenboim, 72, who is general music director of the German capital's flagship opera house, the State Opera, "is in talks with Iran about a possible concert in Tehran by the Staatskapelle Berlin," the house said in an emailed statement to AFP.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed to take over the patronage of the concert as he "supports Daniel Barenboim's dedication to making music accessible to all people, irrespective of national, religious or ethnic boundaries," the statement said.
Further details of the concert would be announced "once the negotiations have been concluded," the opera house said.
Barenboim's plans have understandably angered Israel, whom the Islamic Republic continues to vow to annihilate.
Culture Minister Miri Regev said Wednesday that she intended to send a letter of protest to German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling on her to block the concert.
"In my letter I shall stress that Daniel Barenboim's appearance in Iran harms Israel's efforts to prevent the nuclear agreement and gives
encouragement to de-legitimization of Israel," she wrote on her Facebook page.
"Iran is a state which supports terror, is behind Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas and its leaders have blood on their hands. I believe that Germany would be acting rightly if it were to cancel the appearance of the orchestra and its conductor," Regev continued.
She then accused Barenboim of "using culture as a platform for his anti-Israel political views."
In 2008, Barenboim received "Palestinian citizenship" from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for his long-standing support of establishing a Palestinian state and bitter criticism of Israel.
Barenboim has also raised controversy in Israel for his avid promotion of German composer Richard Wagner, whose music and rabid anti-Semitism played an influence on the genocidal Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
AFP contributed to this report.